The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Pay Attention to Your Blood Group

analysis

You might avoid some diseases:

Most Ugandans don't know their blood groups -what with us living in the here and now- yet, going by reports that one's blood group may predispose one to certain diseases, it would be prudent to know where you lie.

AB and B: more prone to heart disease:

Harvard University researchers show that blood group A, B and AB individuals are more at risk of heart disease than individuals belonging to blood group O. In this research, it was found that blood group AB individuals were 23% more likely to suffer heart disease while individuals in blood groups B and A were 11% and 5% more likely to suffer heart disease respectively.

The findings corroborated those cited by Pennsylvania University researchers which showed that group O individuals are "protected" from heart disease. These individuals are said to possess a substance that assists blood flow and reduces clotting while those in group A are said to have high levels of bad cholesterol and those in group AB are prone to inflammation, factors that can put them at risk of heart disease.

One's race, however, could play a role in determining whether their blood group puts them at risk of heart disease as research done in Pakistan (by researchers from Ghulam Muhammad Mahar Medical College, Nishtar Medical College and University of Stellenbosch, South Africa) shows that among Pakistanis, blood group A individuals have the highest incidence of heart disease followed by B, O and AB.

While group O individuals in the UK and US are the least susceptible to heart disease, in Pakistani, it is group AB individuals, the most at risk population. But Dr Vincent Karuhanga offers a cautionary tale: individuals, regardless of whether they are said to be "protected" are advised to lead a healthy lifestyle. Eating right and exercising are important in reducing one's risk to heart disease.

Group O among Nigerians more prone to diabetes:

Diabetes is largely a lifestyle disease, doctors say. A combination of poor feeding habits coupled with a sedentary lifestyle among others put one at risk. However, research done by scientists from University of Calabar and University of Uyo of Nigeria, shows that group O- and A+ are more predisposed to diabetes mellitus.

Blood groups A and AB seem to be less susceptible. However, as prior warned, it is important for individuals, whatever blood group they belong to, lead a lifestyle that does not predispose them to diabetes.

Infertility - Group O could struggle in conceiving:

According to research findings presented by Dr Edward Ejat of the Albert Einstein College (US), women in blood group O may struggle to conceive while those in A may find it easier. Regardless of their age, it was found that women in blood group A had lower levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) implying they have a higher egg count.

This research, however, seems to be at odds with the Ugandan situation whose population is predominantly blood group O yet is billed as one of the most fertile in the world.

Cancers - Group O prone to stomach cancers, A, B and AB prone to pancreatic cancer:

Black men, according to researchers from the University of Bristol, are three times more likely to suffer from prostate cancer than whites. Dr Chris Metcalfe, the lead researcher, is said to have told the BBC that black men suffering more from prostate cancer could be about race and not late presentation, ignorance about the disease or poor access to medical attention as might be suspected.

"There's very few known risk factors for prostate cancer but it's starting to look like being black is a risk factor".

It has been reported that the duffy gene, possessed by a number of West Africans, is a risk factor for prostate cancer. The duffy gene is rarely mentioned in blood typing because it is unimportant in blood transfusion purposes. However, in terms of the bearing it may have on disease, it becomes important.

Ugandans, most of whom belong to blood group O are duffy- and this could make them less susceptible to prostate cancer. In other cancers, group O individuals are more susceptible to stomach cancers and stomach ulcers while A, B and AB individuals are more susceptible to pancreatic cancer, according to information on ehow.com.

Malaria, HIV and asthma: Duffy-negative individuals prone to HIV, less susceptible to malaria, asthma

Individuals with the duffy gene (duffy+) are more likely to suffer malaria caused by plasmodium vivax and asthma but they are less susceptible to HIV. Ugandans, who are largely duffy- are therefore susceptible to HIV but not to malaria caused by plasmodium vivax and asthma.

Again, it is important to note that a healthy lifestyle is key to good health. This article serves as notice that some individuals may be more susceptible to some diseases and they should take precautionary measures, where they can, to stay in good health. You should note, once again, that the research findings presented in here are based on statistical data and more work needs to be done for them to be proven.

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