Research Says This Blood Type (AB) Is 82% More Likely to Develop Dementia—Here’s How to Use That Information

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Your blood can tell you a lot about yourself. From evaluating how well your organs are working to discovering (and identifying) a specific illness or disease, undergoing regular blood work is important. But did you know your blood type says a lot about you, too? Knowing your blood typing can actually let you know if you are at risk for certain health conditions, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

“Certain blood groups may put you at a greater risk of developing some serious health conditions,” Dr. Daniel Boyer, a practicing doctor of The Farr Institute, tells Parade. “Blood group AB, for example, is generally considered the least healthy blood type, at least when compared to the other types.”

Heart disease and certain types of cancer are linked to and with the ABO gene, which is present in those who have AB blood. Those with type O blood have an increased risk of developing diabetes, and both blood types A and AB put you at a higher risk of cancer, particularly stomach and pancreatic cancer. The AB blood group has also been linked to COVID-19. COVID patients under 65 years of age with type AB blood have a higher risk of becoming both symptomatic and seriously ill from the virus while those with type O have a lower risk.  But that’s not all: According to a recent study published in the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, having AB blood may increase your risk of memory loss.

Related: Eat Right for Your O, A, B, AB Positive or Negative Blood Type

“People with blood type AB may be more likely to develop memory loss in later years than people with other blood types,” a press release states. In fact, it may increase your risk by up to 82 percent.

The study, which followed more than 30,000 people for three and a half years, tested participants’ cognitive functioning. Researchers analyzed their immediate memory, verbal fluency, orientation, and ability to learn a 10-word list. At the end of the study period, 495 people had developed significant cognitive decline. Of this group, researchers found that one particular blood type demonstrated a higher risk for cognitive decline: the type of blood known as AB.

“People with AB blood type made up 6 percent of the group who developed cognitive impairment, which is higher than the 4 percent found in the [general] population,” the press release continues. “[Thus] the study found that people with AB blood were 82 percent more likely to develop the thinking and memory problems that can lead to dementia than people with other blood types.”

Related: How to Tell ‘Typical’ Memory Loss from Dementia

It is worth noting that many factors can and do contribute to dementia risk, including smoking, high blood pressure, genetics, and diabetes.

“Our study looks at blood type and risk of cognitive impairment, but several studies have shown that factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes increase the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia,” study author Mary Cushman, MD, MSc, of the University of Vermont College of Medicine in Burlington, said. “Blood type is also related to other vascular conditions like stroke, so the findings highlight the connections between vascular issues and brain health.”  That said, additional research is needed.

The good news is that, while having AB blood increases your risk of developing dementia and/or memory loss, correlation is not the same as causation. Just because you have the ABO gene doesn’t mean that the complications it comes with are inevitable. “This study has identified the risk factors of both cognitive and heart problems that are all associated with blood type AB,” Boyer tells Parade. However, this is more insightful than anything. “Knowing your risk may be useful in the prevention of the development of any risk factor of cognitive conditions.”

Related: How You Can Help Thwart Possible Memory Loss in Your Future

There are also things you can do to protect yourself and strengthen both your mind and body.

“There are several ways to prevent memory loss,” Dr. Elliana Rose, MD, tells Parade. “These include incorporating physical activity in your daily routine and staying mentally active.” Doing crosswords and playing games like Sudoku will keep your memory sharp. “You should also eat a healthy diet, manage your chronic conditions, and avoid stress. Sleep is also important, especially since the act plays an important role in consolidating memories, and avoid both smoking and highly polluted areas, if possible, as pollution and smoking make you susceptible to numerous health conditions.”

Next up, find out which blood type is said to have the most memory problems.