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Check Your Health: Your blood type might increase your heart attack risk on bad air days

KUTV Blood draw 121317.JPG
Your blood type might increase your heart attack risk on bad air days (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Air pollution can increase your risk of having a heart attack, and a new study shows that when the air is bad, you might be at an even higher risk based on your blood type.

“What we found was that during a time of increased air pollution, that people with A, B, or AB blood types had a substantially higher risk of having a heart attack,” says Dr. Benjamin Horne, Director of Cardiovascular and Genetic Epidemiology at Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute.

If you have an O-blood type, you have a lower risk, but it’s still increased by at least 10% on bad air days. For the other three blood types, that risk was 25% higher for every additional 10 µg/m3 of PM 2.5.

For example, on a day where the PM 2.5 levels are at 55 and the air is considered “Unhealthy for All Groups,” people with O-blood type have a 30% higher risk of having a heart attack and the other three blood types have a 75% higher risk. Basically, as pollution continues to increase, so does the risk of heart attack – especially if you have a non-O blood type.

“The air pollution risk doesn’t seem to matter based on whether you’re positive or negative blood type,” says Dr. Horne.

On these days, people can work to reduce their risk. The first way is to stay indoors where the air in cleaner. This is especially true if you are exercising and filtering more air through your lungs. Second, if you have a heart condition, you might be on lifesaving medication. Make sure to take those consistently and as prescribed. Third, avoid highly congested areas.

“Stay away from traffic areas where the major roadways have a higher level than back in neighborhoods,” says Dr. Horne.


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