There are other significant health reasons to know your blood group, but it’s also good to know when you want to donate blood.
The Blood Groups
Your blood type is genetically determined – you inherit it from your parents, just as you do your eye or hair colour. The different blood groups are defined by two factors: the ABO grouping system and the Rhesus/Rh factor. These are most commonly linked to the types of antigens and antibodies you have in your blood. An antigen is a type of substance that causes an immune response within your body.
There are four types of blood groups:
- A: you have A antigens in your blood
- B: you have B antigens in your blood
- AB: you have both A and B antigens in your blood
- O: you have no antigens in your blood.
The Rh Factor
The Rhesus (Rh) factor of your blood is determined by the amount of protein that’s present on the surface of your red blood cells. If your blood cells have the protein, you’re Rh positive. If your blood cells don’t have the protein, you’re Rh negative.
Combine the Two
Determining your blood group involves combining these two sets of information, which means your doctor will tell you that your blood type is something like “A positive” or “O negative”. Interestingly, if you have O negative blood, you can donate blood to be used by anyone in the world.
Donate Your Blood
The South African National Blood Service (SANBS) regularly updates the country on what our national and local blood stocks look like. During 2018, the SANBS is on a committed drive to encourage more people to donate and ensure that our blood stocks don’t run low across the country. Blood stocks are a critical health resource, especially for helping people undergoing surgery, or facing a medical emergency. Your blood can save a life. Visit the SANBS website to book a blood drive at your office or find your nearest donor centre. Keep your eyes peeled in shopping malls or other places you regularly visit, because the SANBS will undoubtedly be there soon.
LifeDoc Can Help
Your doctor or local clinic can tell you which blood group you are. Book an appointment to find out and use LifeDoc™ to keep a record of it. LifeDoc™ helps you take charge of your personal health information, making it easier to keep track of appointments and schedule those important check-ups, while securely storing your personal medical information, including your blood type. Register here or like the LifeDoc™ Facebook page for regular updates. You can also stay on track with LifeDoc™ developments on Twitter.