Blood type basics
There are four types of blood, specifically A, B, AB, and O and is determined by genetics. Blood types are further classified as positive or negative, which refers to Rh factor. The Rh factor is a protein that is found on the surface of red blood cells in those whose blood type is positive.
How Can I Find My Blood Type?
A common question we hear – “How Can I Find My Blood Type?. Surprisingly, finding out your blood group is not as easy as it should be.
In fact, if you were to carry out a quick survey at school or work, you might find that more people know their astrological star sign than they what blood type they are. Quite astonishing really!
Blood type is often not checked by your primary care provider. In the UK, your GP won’t check your blood group type unless their is a medical need to do so.
Generally, the only way to find out someone’s blood type is for a sample of their blood to be tested. If you don’t know your type, you can find out with a home blood group test or by giving blood.
When Might My Blood Type Be Checked?
There are certain situations in which your doctor may need to know your blood type for medical reasons. For example, if you need a blood transfusion, your doctor needs to know what blood type you are in order to ensure you receive blood that is compatible with your own. Giving someone the wrong blood type can trigger an immune response, which leads to a transfusion reaction, which can be very serious and even life-threatening. Other times your blood type will be tested include:
- When you donate blood or blood products,
- When you need surgery,
- If you are considering donating an organ or blood marrow,
- If you are pregnant. If your blood type is negative and your partner’s blood type is positive or unknown, you will need an injection to prevent your body from developing antibodies in the event that your baby’s blood mixes with your own.
What Is the Difference Between the Blood Types?
Blood type refers to the proteins, called antigens, found on the surface of your red blood cells. There are two types of antigens, A and B. Blood type A has the A antigen, blood type B has the B antigen. If your red cells have both types, your blood type is AB, and if it does not have these antigens, your type is O. The antigens cause your body to produce antibodies, which are proteins found in the liquid part of your blood that are responsible for fighting off invaders (and which are responsible for transfusion reactions when the wrong blood type is given).
Why Is It Important That I Find My Blood Type?
Any time a person needs extra blood, medical personnel will need to know their blood type and the blood type they are being given. If your type is A, your body will attack type B and vice versa. If your type is O, your body will attack all other types. Type O is considered to be a universal donor, because there are no antigens on the surface of the cells to be attacked. Type AB is considered a universal recipient because all other types are compatible.
If you donate blood, your type will be checked and noted on your blood donor card.
Can I Find My Blood Type with a Home Blood Group Test Kit?
Yes – a home blood group test kit will hep you to identify what blood group you belong to. At Zoom Health we offer a simple test that takes just a few minutes and a pinprick of blood to give results. After using this kit you will know your blood type (A, AB, B or O) and rhesus factor (Rh negative or Rh positive).
The blood group test kit in a includes a sterile lancet for obtaining blood, an alcohol swab, sterile plaster, comb application device, blood transfer pipette, a colour result chart and instructions.
The test is not hard to carry out but does require that the instructions are followed step-by-step in order to get a correct result. Take some time before starting the test to read the instructions so that you have a clear understanding of what to do when you begin.
So, if you are often asking yourself “How Can I Find My Blood Type?”, this blood group test kit might be ideal for you!
Photo Credit: Chris Gladis on Flickr