People who have blood types A, B, or AB have a slightly higher risk of heart disease compared to those with type O, the most common kind, according to research released Tuesday.
Those who know they are at higher risk may be more motivated to make changes to lower their chances of heart disease, said Dr. Lu Qi, senior author of the study from Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
"We cannot change blood type but we can change lifestyle," said Qi, who led a study released last year that showed blood type may affect stroke risk.
The new study involved about 90,000 men and women in two observational health studies that cover more than 20 years. Combined, 4,070 people developed heart disease. The researchers considered age and other factors like diet, drinking, family history of heart attacks that could contribute to heart disease.
The increased risk for type A was 8 percent; type B, 11 percent; and type AB, 20 percent.
While the study did not examine how blood type may affect heart disease risk, it noted that research has shown some characteristics of different types may be a factor. For instance, some research suggests that blood types might affect cholesterol levels or the risk of developing blood clots.
The findings were published in the American Heart Association journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology.