Most of us only consider our blood type in the event we are making a donation or needing a transfusion.
But researchers have learned that your blood type can actually determine your predisposition for certain diseases and conditions, many of which are deadly.
Dr. Bob Chilton, UTHSC cardiologist and professor, says it was first confirmed in an Australian study.
"They found the guys who have closed arteries in one leg, they looked at their blood types and those guys did not have type O blood. They had A or B or AB," he said.
A later U.S. study of nurses and doctors over a 26-year period backed up the idea convincingly.
He said it’s all about a blood type’s ability to clot that determines which conditions you are predisposed to.
"If you are type O, you seem to have less activated sequences of clotting function. As you get to A- and B- or AB-type bloods, then you are more likely to have more pro-thrombotic or pro-clot function. So those people, whether it's kidney disease, liver disease or whatever, those interconnected genetically," said Chilton.
He notes however that the knowledge can only take you so far in preventing disease. He recommends lifestyle changes can have a greater impact than the genetics.
"You only look at a 10 to 30 percent increase in risk. The biggest risk in San Antonio is weight. That will knock you over first,” he said.
Type A patients have a higher risk of developing Rotavirus, which can leave you sick to your stomach and cause diarrhea.
Type O female patients tend to experience ovarian issues that cause infertility.
Type O and B blood types have a high incidence of gastrointestinal cancer.
And type B’s should beware of pancreatic cancer because they can run a 72 percent high risk over type O patients.