Do you know your blood type? If you haven’t been in any medical situations where blood type is important, you might not.
We know that there are 8 main blood groups that make up most of the world’s population.
But it turns out that scientists still don’t know why we evolved different blood types. And that may remain a mystery for a long time. But from now, science can at least tell you about your own blood.
Knowing your Blood type
In develops parts of the world, it’s not crucial to know your blood type off the top of your head. Doctors will typically run tests before any major procedure and if there’s any doubt in a medical emergency, you’ll most likely receive O negative blood, because that’s the universal donor blood that’s save to give to any A, B, AB or O recipient.
Blood type experiments
For thousands of years nobody really understood blood. A Greek doctor Claudius Galenus from 200 CE believed that it was created food and liver, and this school of thought lived on for nearly 1500 years.
It wasn’t until in the 17th century A british doctor named William Harvey, discovered that blood actually circulated through the body. This spawned A new age of experimentation with blood.
In 1665, an English physician successfully kept one dog alive by transfusing it with a blood of another dog. Just two years later, doctors began experimenting with Xenotransfusions. That is transfusing humans with animal blood, such a sheep. And those human patients died.
It wasn’t until 1900 that we finally realised people and animals actually have different types of blood that determine whose blood can mix with whose. That’s where different letters came into play.
If you’re type A, your immune system will perceive type B blood as an intruder and trigger auto immune response that can cause
- kidney failure,
- extensive blood clotting, and
- even shock.
The reverse is true of type B blood. The immune system will attack type A.
AB blood however, accept both A and B blood without triggering the auto immune response. These things get little bit complicated when introduced there negative and positive part of your blood type. Positive can’t accept negative, but the opposite is extremely dangerous.
Other than 8 Blood types
To further complicate things scientists have discovered dozens of more blood type, such as the Duffy blood group, which can determine your susceptibility to malaria. Or the Hh blood type, which 1 in 10,000 people in India have. But the vast majority of the humans fall into this A, B, O system.
As per why humans evolved this complicated system of blood types and compatibility, we really don’t know. The original mutations are thought to date back nearly 20 million years. But whatever the biology is behind blood typing, it’s a real practical thing that matters.
It’s just not a bad idea to know your blood type. If you’re traveling somewhere that’s rural, or doesn’t have access to advance medicine, it’s good for you and your travelling companion to know your types, just in case of an accident along the way. In big emergency closer to home, blood banks often put in calls for donors of a specific type. And remember if you’re type O Negative, you’re an extremely useful universal donor. So, knowing your type can give you a peace of mind.