Generally, blood comprises the same basic components, but different varieties of blood exist. Eight blood types are available, and the type each person has depends on the genes inherited from the parents.
Many people have about 4 – 6 litres of blood. Different cells are present in the blood, which float in the blood fluid known as plasma. We have the red and white blood cells, platelets and plasma.
- The red blood cells transport oxygen to different body tissues and remove carbon dioxide
- The white blood cells fight off infections and destroy invaders in the body.
- The platelets are responsible for blood clotting
- The plasma is the blood fluid consisting of salts and proteins
The difference in blood types arises from the unique combination of protein molecules known as antibodies and antigens. The antigens are found on the top of RBC (red blood cells), while the antibodies are present in the plasma. The combination of antibodies and antigens form the blood types, and you can carry out a blood type test UK to know your blood group.
Different blood types
The eight blood types include:
- A positive- This blood type is one of the most common. People with this blood type can donate blood to only people who are AB positive or A positive.
- A negative- This is a rare blood type, and people with it can donate blood to anyone with AB or A blood type
- B positive- Anyone with this blood type can donate blood to those with AB or B positive.
- B negative- A rare blood type that can be given to people with AB or B blood type
- AB positive- People with this rare blood type can get plasma or blood from any blood type. They are known as universal recipients.
- AB negative- This blood type is the rarest. People with this blood type are universal plasma donors because they can give plasma to anyone
- O positive- It is the most common blood type, and people with this blood type can give blood to people with a positive blood type.
- O negative- People with this rare blood type can give blood to anyone.
There are four major blood groups based on whether antigens A and B are present or not. This blood grouping is known as the ABO blood group system.
- A blood group has the B antibody and A antigen
- B blood group has the A antibody and B antigen
- AB blood group has A and B antigen with no A and B antibody
- O blood group has no A and B antigen but has A and B antibodies
The third antigen is known as Rhesus (Rh)factor. If you have this antigen, you are Rh+, but if you do not have this antigen, you are Rh-
Importance of blood type
An Austrian Scientist called Karl Landsteiner discovered blood groups in 1901. Before this discovery, doctors thought that everyone had the same blood, so many people died from a blood transfusion.
This discovery has made experts know that mixing blood from two people with different blood types can lead to blood clumping, a fatal condition. This is because the blood recipient has antibodies that can fight the donor’s cells, leading to a toxic reaction.
For an effective and safe blood transfusion, the donor and the recipient much have compatible blood types. People with type A blood can get blood from those with the same blood type.
The best situation is to have a donor and recipient with the same match, and their blood goes through a cross-matching process following a private blood test. However, the donor must not always have the exact blood type as the recipient, provided the blood types are compatible.
Best blood types donors
Blood type O negative is the safest blood type to donate to people in a life-threatening emergency or when the supply of the exact blood type is limited. This is because O negative blood types do not have antibodies against antigens A, B or Rh.
O negative blood type was previously considered the universal red cell donor because experts thought they could donate blood to any blood type. Experts now believe that there may be risks with the transfusion.
Diet for blood type
In the last decade, several claims have been made about blood type diet. These claims imply that certain foods are suitable for each blood type to improve general health and reduce the risk of some diseases. However, no scientific evidence is available to support these claims.
If you want to know your blood type, you can carry out a blood type test London at Private Blood Tests London or call to schedule an appointment for the test.