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Affinity Health, a leading provider of high-quality healthcare, explores new research suggesting blood type affects your risk of having an early stroke in light of World Stroke Week (28 October – 3 November).


New research has discovered that those with type A blood may be more likely to suffer a stroke before age 60 than those with other blood types.


“There are four major blood groups (blood types): A, B, AB, and O. The genes you receive from your parents define your blood group,” says Murray Hewlett, CEO of Affinity Health.


“Blood type O is the most common blood group, while AB negative is the rarest.”


Your blood type can tell you many things about yourself, including your risk for certain health disorders, blood clots, and even your susceptibility to developing kidney stones. There is evidence that a person’s blood type can also indicate their chance of suffering a stroke.


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stroke is one of the leading causes of death worldwide.


Ischemic strokes, which occur when a blood clot obstructs blood flow to the brain, account for more than 90% of all strokes.


Researchers have been long investigating whether an individual’s blood type could increase their risk of stroke.


The latest findings indicate that those with type A blood may be at a higher risk than those with other blood types, although further research is needed.


Findings published in Neurology demonstrate a strong link between blood type A and an increased risk of ischemic stroke.


Researchers compiled data from 48 genetic studies involving about 17,000 stroke patients and over 600,000 healthy patients. All participants were between the ages of 18 and 59.


“A genome-wide search identified two regions strongly linked to an early risk of stroke. One coincided with the location of blood type genes,” says Hewlett.


“People whose genomes coded for a variant of the A blood group had a 16% greater risk of suffering a stroke before age 60 than those with other blood types. Those with a gene for group O had a 12% lower risk.”


The researchers stressed, however, that the elevated risk of stroke in those with blood type A ‘was low’.


While it is still unknown why blood type A confers a greater risk, blood-clotting components such as platelets and blood vessel-lining cells, together with other circulating proteins, may play a role. The genetic sequence for blood type A has been linked to a slightly increased risk of venous thrombosis or blood clots in veins.

Additional Risk Factors for Stroke

In addition to genetics and blood type, ageing can also increase the risk of stroke.


The CDC advises that your chance of having a stroke increases every decade after age 55. While most strokes occur in those aged 65 and older, one in seven strokes occurs in those aged 15 to 49.


A person’s gender can also influence stroke. A review conducted in 2022 revealed that women are more likely than men to experience a stroke.


Women between the ages of 35 and 45 have a 44% higher risk of ischemic stroke than men of the same age. The CDC adds that women are more likely to experience a stroke due to pregnancy and birth control tablets.


Among all races and ethnicities, black people have the highest risk for stroke. Two-thirds of this racial group tend to have at least one risk factor for stroke. These risk factors include:


  • Diabetes
  • Sickle cell anaemia
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated cholesterol
  • Being obese or overweight


In addition, a CDC report from 2021 reveals that black men have the highest risk of stroke-related mortality and the lowest five-year survival rate. However, Hewlett adds many more factors impact your risk of stroke.

Prevention-Based Measures

About 80% of strokes are avoidable. Affinity Health offers the following tips to prevent and lessen the risk of stroke.

Don’t smoke

Smoking doubles the chance of death from a stroke, and the more you smoke, the higher your risk of stroke. If you smoke 20 cigarettes per day, your risk of suffering a stroke is six times that of a nonsmoker.

Keep your blood pressure in check.

If you have high blood pressure, keep a blood pressure monitor at home and record your numbers daily.


Physical activity can lower your risk of suffering a stroke or transient ischemic attack. Five days per week of 30 minutes of moderate exercise can reduce the risk of stroke by almost 25%.

Be mindful of your cholesterol levels.

Understand your cholesterol levels. Aim for low-density lipoprotein (LDL of 70 mg/dL) if you’ve already had a stroke or transient ischemic attack.

About Affinity Health

Affinity Health is South Africa’s leading provider of health insurance, offering you a range of options at affordable rates including access to the widest national provider network. We understand the importance of having medical insurance that meets your needs, your budget, and your lifestyle. Our range of healthcare products are designed to protect you and your family when it matters the most. We strive to give our clients peace of mind and the highest standard of service at all times. For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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