The entire human population falls under four main categories of blood groups: types A, B, AB and O. They can then be sub-categorized by their rhesus factor (Rh). This defines the presence (RH positive) or absence (RH negative) of a protein found just outside of the red blood cells. This enlarges the number of blood types to a total of eight: A+, A-, B+, B-, AB+, AB-, O+, and O-. Knowing which blood type a patient has can be a question of life or death. This can be the case during pregnancy or when a blood transfusion is taking place. This article will discuss 5 interesting facts about O negative type in particular.
5 Interesting facts about blood type O-
1. Type O negative and ethnicity
The first interesting fact about O- Blood Type is that blood type varies by ethnic group. Scientific research has concluded that O negative blood is more common in Caucasians, at 8% of the population. However, only 4% of Africans and Hispanics have this blood type, whereas only 1% of Asians are carriers of it. Higher rates of O negative blood type are found in people from Spain, Iceland, New Zealand, and Australia. How interesting!
2. Type O negative: the ‘universal’ blood type
One striking fact about O negative blood is its universal nature. Red cells of O negative type can be transfused to all 8 blood subgroups, which make it the most needed blood type for emergency transfusions. Type O negative blood is in extremely high demand at hospitals—not just because it’s one of the rarest blood types, but also because it’s the “universal donor.” O negative blood can be given to negative and positive blood types. This is because O negative is Rh-negative. These folks can also donate to A, B, and AB blood types. Though a foreign antigen could cause the body to attack, there are no antigens present in type O blood, so there’s nothing to attack.
So, in an emergency, where there’s no time to test for an exact match; O negative blood is used. What’s more; type O negative blood is the safest for newborn babies whose immune systems are under-developed. People who have type O negative blood can only receive the same O negative type blood. Type O blood can be used in place of type O negative when type O negative is in short supply.
3. Associated health risks
- Bacterial & viral Infections: It is considered that people with O negative blood type can be more susceptible to some bacterial and viral infections than other blood groups. This can include the plague, cholera, mumps, and tuberculosis. Some studies also show that blood type O negative individuals have a 35% higher incidence of duodenal ulcers compared to people with A, B, and AB blood types.
- Mosquito bites: Many factors contribute to whether or not you are a magnet for mosquitos, including your blood type. In one 2004 study- published in the Journal of Medical Entomology- researchers found that a specific species of mosquito landed on 83% of subjects with type O negative blood and just 47% of subjects with type A blood.
- Fertility in women: One of the many things that can contribute to a woman’s fertility is her blood type. At the Yale University Fertility Center in 2011, researchers analyzed subjects’ levels of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and found that women with type O blood were more likely to have higher FSH levels. The problem is that high levels of FSH are typically an indication of a diminished ovarian reserve, which means that a woman with type O blood might be less likely to get pregnant as she gets older. However, this is not the only causal factor in fertility.
4. Associated health benefits
- Heart disease: People with type O negative blood have the lowest risk of developing coronary heart disease, compared to people with A, B, and AB blood types. Type O negative blood types have been shown to have lower levels of specific proteins known to contribute to clotting.
- Pancreatic cancer: Studies show that people with O negative blood have a lower risk of developing pancreatic cancer. What is more, people with blood type O negative have a lower risk of developing circulatory diseases and cognitive disorders. Of course, keeping a healthy lifestyle and managing health risk factors is crucial for avoiding diseases, no matter what blood type you have.
- Malaria: Although people with type O negative blood are more susceptible to mosquito bites, they can thank their genetics for one thing: protection against malaria. Oddly enough, scientists have found that those with type O negative blood seldom die from malaria. That’s because the RIFIN protein—the protein that causes malaria—is less able to bond to type O negative blood cells and therefore cannot do as much damage.
5. Personality Traits
We have left this fact about O- Blood Types to last because could actually be more of a myth than a fact. However, it is a very interesting idea that has a lot of support. Different sources seem to concur that blood type O negative people share the following traits. They are thought to be (among others):
- Hard work ethic
- Emotional distance
What we can list as an established fact though, is a number of famous people with this blood type. They include Paul McCartney, Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, John Lennon, and Queen Elizabeth. Do these famous people stack up against the traits above? It’s anyone’s guess really!
In light of the above facts, people may think that O negative blood type is rare. Actually, this is a myth. There are other blood types which are rarer. In the US for example, these rarer blood types include AB negative and AB positive. That’s a relief, considering how in-demand O negative blood is. In fact, those born with this blood type should consider being donors. In the United States, blood transfusions are being administered every two seconds. Out of the 38% of people who can donate blood, only about 3% do so. Now that’s a fact we should all try and change, whatever our blood type is!
I hope that this article on O- Blood Type was helpful! If you are interested, visit the Health Facts Page!