Blood types/rarest blood type
Blood transfusions are treatments that save the lives of many Americans. Blood transfusions are necessary for many different reasons, such as operations, after having accidents, as well as in patients with chronic diseases and / or cancer.
Blood can not be manufactured artificially; therefore, doctors rely on blood donations made by volunteers. To guarantee the safety of the blood reserves, in each donation, the blood group is determined and all extractions that can transmit infectious diseases are discarded.
What are the blood’s components?
Any blood contains the same basic components:
Red blood cells
white blood cells
But not everyone has the same blood type.
What are the blood groups?
Determining the blood type of each blood donation makes it possible to prevent rejection reactions when blood transfusions are made. Red blood cells have markers on the surface that characterize them. These markers (also known as antigens) are proteins and sugars that our body uses to know that our red blood cells belong to us.
The two main systems for determining a person’s blood type are ABO and Rh.
The AB0 blood system has four blood groups:
Group A. This blood group has a marker known as “A.”
Group B. This blood group has a marker known as “B”.
Group AB. This blood group has both A markers and B markers.
Group 0. This blood group has no A or B markers.
The blood is also classified as “Rh positive” (meaning it has the Rh factor) or “Rh negative” (without the Rh factor).
Therefore, there are eight blood groups in total:
Or negative. This blood group has no A or B markers and does not have the Rh factor either.
Or positive. This blood group does not have A or B markers but it does have the Rh factor. It is one of the most frequent blood groups (along with the positive A).
A negative. This blood group only has the A marker.
A positive. This blood group has the A marker and the Rh factor, but does not have the B marker.
Together with positive O, it is one of the two most frequent blood groups.
B negative. This blood group only has the B marker
B positive. This blood group has the B marker and the Rh factor, but it lacks the A marker.
AB negative. This blood group has markers A and B, but lacks the Rh factor.
AB positive. This blood group has the three markers: A, B and Rh factor.
Having any of the markers (or lacking all of them) does not make a person’s blood healthier or more resistant than others. It’s just a genetic difference, like having green eyes instead of blue ones, or having straight hair instead of curly hair.
Why is the blood group so important?
The immune system is the system of protection of our body against invaders. It is responsible for identifying antigens as their own or others. To receive a blood transfusion with safety guarantees, a person’s immune system must recognize that the blood cells of the donor are compatible with their own. If the blood cells are not recognized as compatible, rejection will occur.
The immune system makes proteins called antibodies that act as protectors against invading cells that enter the body. Depending on the blood group you have, your immune system will make antibodies that will react against other blood groups.
If a patient is given an inadequate blood group, their antibodies will immediately destroy the invading cells. This aggressive response throughout the body can cause fever, chills and hypotension (low blood pressure). And it can even cause insufficiencies in vitally important body systems, such as the respiratory or renal systems.
Here is an example of how antibodies react against different blood groups:
suppose you have blood group A. Since your blood contains the A marker, you will make B antibodies.
If B markers enter your body (present in blood groups B or AB), your immune system will react against them.
This means that you can only receive transfusions from people who have blood groups A or O, but not from people with blood groups B or AB.
Similarly, if your blood contains marker B, your body will make antibodies to A. Therefore, as a person in blood group B, you will only be able to receive transfusions from the B group.