Are you at risk?
If you don’t know your blood type, you might want to pick up the phone and ask your mom. That’s because it may tell you more about your health than you think—in fact, back in March, we reported that blood types can predict which men get better erections.
Now, it may point to something more deadly, too: Your blood type may help determine if you’re at risk of a heart attack, new research presented at Heart Failure 2017—4th World Congress on Acute Heart Failure suggests.
Researchers analyzed data on more than 1,300,000 people from nine previous studies, and concluded that those with type A, type B, or type AB blood were 9 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event—like a heart attack—than those with type O blood.
The exact mechanism behind the increased heart risk isn’t exactly clear. But one possibility may be because people with non type-O blood have greater concentrations of a blood clotting protein called von Willebrand factor, which can make the development of a blockage that causes a heart attack more likely, the researchers say in a press release. (That also may be why guys with non type-O blood are more likely to develop erectile dysfunction, too.)
People with non-O blood also tend to have higher cholesterol and higher levels of inflammation.
More research is needed to clarify the links between blood type and heart risks—and to look at each blood type separately—but the researchers believe that blood type may eventually play a role in risk assessment for heart disease, along with traditional factors like cholesterol, age, and blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are supposed to protect your heart, not harm it. Syracuse University researchers churned up evidence suggesting you should be picky about what type of fish you eat, though. They found fish contaminated with high levels of mercury actually interfered with the body’s response to stress, increasing the odds of heart disease. The mercury interferes with the body’s natural cortisol hormone levels in a heart-unhealthy way.
Avoid it: In addition to tuna, fish with the highest levels of mercury are usually the big predatory species, such as swordfish, king mackerel, and any kind of shark. But watch out for recreational species, as well. The U.S. Geological Survey has found dangerously high mercury levels in some freshwater species, including trout and bass. For more tips on finding safer fish, read The Surprising Heart Attack Trigger in the Seafood Aisle and 12 Fish You Should Never Eat.
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