AcademiaAgriculture & FarmingHumanitiesSocial SciencesSTEM

Blood Type Properties

Updated on May 26, 2012

Red Blood Cell:

Source

Every person has a blood type. Blood types are classifications of the properties of a person's blood concerning how the blood reacts to new blood via a blood transfusion, and are often organized into a system of ABO blood types. Knowing the differences in blood types helps doctors prevent patients from having dangerous allergic reactions during blood transfusions.

ABO Blood Types:

Blood types are determined and named by the existence of two different antigens present on the surface of red blood cells; A antigens and B antigens. These antigens, which can be sugars or proteins, are essentialy markers attached to red blood cell membranes that let the body's immune system know which type of blood is natural to the body and which should be destroyed. For example, someone with A antigens would not be able to receive B antigen blood, as the immune system would attack what it sees as "incompatible" blood. The immune system responds to blood types through the use of antibodies produced by the blood. These antibodies are made to counter antigens of the opposite type - ie: anti-A antibodies attack B antigens and anti-B antibodies attack A antigens. The main blood types are:

Type A: This type contains A antigens and produces anti-B antibodies.

Type B: This type contains B antigens and produces anti-A antibodies.

Type AB: This type contains both A and B antigens. As such, type AB blood will attack neither type A nor type B blood because it accepts both antigens as being natural to the body. This means AB blood is able to accept any type of blood during transfusions, making it a universal acceptor.

Type O: This type contains no antigens. This means that O blood will not react with antibodies produced by other blood types, making it a universally accepted blood type for transfusions, also called a universal donor.

Blood Type
Antigens on Surface
Antibodies made
A
A antigens
Anti-B
B
B antigens
Anti-A
AB
A and B antigens
None
O
none
Anti-A and Anti-B

The Rh Factor:

Among the four basic blood types, further organization is made, splitting each type into a positive and negative branch. This is derived from a third antigen present in red blood cells, called the D antigen. The presence of this antigen, or lack thereof, coordinates blood types into the two branches by their Rhesus (Rh) factor. The existence of D antigens on red blood cells classifies blood types as Rh positive, such as O+ or A+. The lack of D antigens on red blood cells classifies blood types as Rh negative, such as O- or A-. The Rh factor of an individual can help determine which blood types he/she can receive or donate to in a blood transfusion, as seen in the next section.

Blood Type Compatibility:

Source

Because of the A and B antigens and antibodies, certain blood types can interact with each other without causing a problem in transfusions, while other may be incompatible and even kill the recipient of the transfusion. When an incompatible blood type is introduced to a body, the antibodies produced by red blood cells quickly attach to the antigen they are specified for (ex. anti-A attaches to A antigens). This causes the blood to clot while the antibodies destroy the incompatible blood cells, causing an allergic reaction that can be quite severe, even fatal. Take a look at the picture above to see which blood types are compatible with each other.

Type A: A can receive from A types and O types, but will react to B antigens. It can donate to both A types and AB types, since AB has A antigens naturally.

Type B: B can receive from B types and O types, but will react to A antigens. It can donate to both B types and AB types, since AB has B antigens naturally.

Type AB: AB is a universal acceptor since it can receive blood from any type. This is due to the presence of both A and B antigens, meaning AB does not producing anti-A or anti-B antibodies. However, because AB has both types of antigens, it can only donate to other AB types.

Type O: O can only accept blood from other O types since it contains both anti-A and anti-B antibodies that will react to any other blood type. However, type O's lack of antigens means that it will not react when donated to other blood types, making it a universal donor.

It is important to note that because of the Rh factor, negative blood types can donate to both negative and positive blood types, but positive blood types can only donate to other positive types.

Rarity:

In general, Rh negative blood types are less common then their positive counterparts, and the main groups increase in rarity from O --> A --> B --> AB. Take a look at the table below from to see a more complete analysis of blood type ratios. For more information about blood types and to see the original version of the table, visit http://www.bloodbook.com/type-facts.html.

Types
Distribution
Ratios
O+
1 in 3 people
38.4%
O-
1 in 15 people
7.7%
A+
1 in 3 people
32.3%
A-
1 in 16 people
6.5%
B+
1 in 12 people
9.4%
B-
1 in 67 people
1.7%
AB+
1 in 29 people
3.2%
AB-
1 in 167 people
0.7%

Blood Type Poll:

What is your blood type?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      Very informative. Blood type is so often misunderstood. You have articulated this article in such a way that it should lay to rest most misconceptions.

    • Just About It profile image

      Just About It 4 years ago from southern CA

      Great Hub about blood typing. It shows how important blood donation can be for some individuals.

    • profile image

      Chris 4 years ago

      Excellent !!!

    • brightforyou profile image

      Helen 4 years ago from Florida

      Ver useful information - thank you!

    • Jennifer Stone profile image

      Jennifer Stone 4 years ago from the Riverbank, England

      Congrats on HOTD award! Very interesting and informative hub, thanks!

    • indieswebs profile image

      indieswebs 4 years ago from Bhavnagar, India

      Indeed a useful HUB. Just donated blood yesterday. I really liked "Rarity".

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Very informative hub! I like it,

      xoxo,M.

    • harinarayan profile image

      harinarayan 4 years ago from Kerala, India

      Thanks for sharing the useful hub. congrats for hub of the day award as a newbie. voted in the pole,voted up and useful

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Thisis very interesting. I'm an A+ but did not have an idea what it meant until now. Excellent explanation. Congrtualation on the HOTD.

    • learner365 profile image

      Saadia A 4 years ago

      Very useful information which you have shared. I was unaware about the exact properties of blood groups but after reading your Hub,things have become clearer.

      Thank you for sharing and congratulations on your Hub of the Day as well!!!

    • mottiandbander profile image

      mottiandbander 4 years ago from Chd

      Thanks for sharing such a nice hub. I have 0- blood group.I wish i can donate my blood but afraid to do this.

      After reading this i want to do it now.

      Motti and bander

    • Melovy profile image

      Yvonne Spence 4 years ago from UK

      Very interesting hub, and I learned a lot from it as I’ve never read a full explanation like this before.

      Congrats on Hub of the Day.

    • internetgeek profile image

      Nizam Khan 4 years ago from Hyderabad, India.

      This is really very interesting and informative Hub regarding this topic. You have explained is a simple yet very useful way. Thanks for sharing and congrats on "Hub of the Day".

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

      Congratulations on your Hub of the Day award for this resource that explains blood types.

    • Dawnrichard profile image

      Dawnrichard 4 years ago

      Very good info @btryon86. I don't know my blood group till now and after seeing your hub now i want to do it. Wish it would be O- .

      And congratulations for being hub of the day. Cheers.

      Dawnrichard

    • ktrapp profile image

      Kristin Trapp 4 years ago from Illinois

      This was very interesting. I always felt so ordinary with my O+ blood, but hey, I guess I'm a universal donor! Congratulation on hub of the day.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Congrats on HOTD. I'm an old retired Lab. Tech. so I'm very familiar with blood types. You did a lot of research for this Hub, and it shows.

    • leahlefler profile image

      leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

      Congratulations on hub of the day - great article on blood types! My aunt is a universal donor (O-) so she makes frequent trips to the blood bank, as they are always in need.

    • Btryon86 profile image
      Author

      Btryon86 4 years ago

      Thank you all so much for the support! I certainly didn't expect to wake up to 15 new comments and a hub of the day award! I'm glad this hub has helped you understand blood types and convinced a few of you to donate, it's much needed. I wish I could donate since I'm O- and a universal donor myself, but unfortunately I have autoimmune diseases that prevent me from doing so. Neverthelesss, thanks so much!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 years ago

      Congratulations on the HOTD award. You did an extremely well organized presentation of this subject. I studied this in college zoology, but they never called the RH factor "antigen D". This will help me to remember and understand what the RH factor is.

      I had a friend in high school who was AB negative, and he was occasionally called in to donate to the blood bank. I was under the impression that there was an age limit of 18 to be a blood donor, but maybe I'm wrong. He was donating at 16 and 17 because his type was so difficult to obtain. Voted up++

    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 4 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Congratulations on Hub of the Day! You have laid out the classifications in an easy to understand format. Voted up and interesting.

    • Haballa profile image

      Andrew Aballa 4 years ago from Kisumu, Kenya

      Although many people consider blood group o as the universal donor, it is strictly blood group o- that is the universal donor. Those who are blood group o+ should not donate to individuals who are o- they can only get blood from other o-ves. Although rhesus negative blood group is very rare from where I come from, it is a challenge especially when o-ves require a transfusion. Rhesus is a vital factor that should be put into consideration. For example, a rhesus negative mother who carries a rhesus positive foetus may seriously injure the unborn. That is if they do not take measures to mitigate this sensitisation.

      Overal, great hub, quite informative

      Andrew

    • Shanna11 profile image

      Shanna 4 years ago from Utah

      I'm fascinated with blood types, so this was an interesting read. I'm A-, and I get calls to donate a lot-- not sure why, but I can donate to a fair amount of blood types, I suppose.

      My mom, sister and I are A-, but my all my brothers and dad are A+. Kind of strange how that worked out.

    • Haballa profile image

      Andrew Aballa 4 years ago from Kisumu, Kenya

      People who are rhesus negative can only get blood from rhesus negative individuals, that's why you get those calls. If a hospital has an A- accident victim, the person can only get blood from a fellow A- or a person who is o-. The only problem is that rhesus positive individuals are not many. That is why hospitals and blood transfussion centres treasure rhesus negative individuals.

    • Btryon86 profile image
      Author

      Btryon86 4 years ago

      Yes, this is true, which is why I pointed out in the article that only Rh negative types can donate to other negatives.

    • divacratus profile image

      Kalpana Iyer 4 years ago from India

      I had studied this at school but now seems to have forgotten it all. Thanks for refreshing my memory :) Congrats on getting hub of the day. Well deserved!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 4 years ago from America

      Congrats on Hub of the day. Very interesting hub. Voted Up.

    • MickiS profile image

      MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Congratulations on getting Hub of the Day! Very well deserved for a very well written article.

    • profile image

      Lila Daley 4 years ago

      Congrates on HOTD! Great hub! So easy to understand and very informative.

      I am A+ and my daughter is O-. It is nice to know what that means as they told me that she can donate to anyone but can only receive O-.

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      Conngrats on HOTD. Your hubs were the first that I read on hubpages. I have been addicted ever since. Thanks for pulling me in with your excellent writing and informative articles.

    • Teresa Coppens profile image

      Teresa Coppens 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Congratulations on getting Hub of the Day! Very well written hub. Interesting and informative!

    • savvydating profile image

      Yves 4 years ago

      Also, a doctor will always check a pregnant woman's RH factor, particularly if she is RH negative and the partner is RH positive. She will be given a shot of RH immune globulin (I believe)to prevent her immune system from making antibodies that may harm the fetus. But, no cause for alarm. Doctor's are aware of this and routinely follow matters to a proper conclusion.

      Thanks for a very interesting hub and congratulations!

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Nice informative hub. Thanks for sharing such useful info.

      Voted up & useful.

    • urmilashukla23 profile image

      Urmila 4 years ago from Rancho Cucamonga,CA, USA

      Useful and interesting article. Thanks for posting it. Congratulations on Hub of the day award!

    • DzyMsLizzy profile image

      Liz Elias 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

      Very interesting--I remember learning all of this in Human Physiology in high school. The medical field fascinates me, but I could never work as a doctor or nurse, as I don't have it in me to stab anyone with a needle! (I hate needles, and I believe in the 'golden rule.') ;-)

      My dad was AB+; my mom was O+; I came out as B+.

      A friend of mine in high school was a middle child of 6. Her mom was RH-. When she was carrying her last child, was about the time they discovered this potential problem, and the docs told her that she shouldn't have any more kids because of it. She laughed and said, "This is my 6th!" She wasn't planning anymore anyway, but it struck her funny. So, I guess the operative word is, it CAN cause harm to the fetus, but it is not necessarily guaranteed to do so.

      There is a presentation -- I think it's on YouTube -- that explores the RH factor from a totally different perspective, claiming that since the naming of it comes from the Rhesus Monkey, in which population it was first discovered, they refer to it as "monkey blood," and those who are RH- lack this factor--and therefore are actually aliens. It's either funny or makes you stop and think, depending on your position on the matter of ET's.

      Great article--congrats on HOTD! Voted up, interesting, useful and shared.

    • livingpah2004 profile image

      Milli 4 years ago from USA

      Awesome hub about blood type. I love to learn these things. Thanks for writing on this subject.

      Congrats on HOTD!

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

      You explained the different blood types beautifully to where people can easily understand. Congrats on HOTD award. Well deserved!

    • Btryon86 profile image
      Author

      Btryon86 4 years ago

      Thanks to everyone who has commented. it's quite humbling to receive such wonderful feeback, and It's great motivation to keep hubbing!

    • Dawnrichard profile image

      Dawnrichard 4 years ago

      Keep it up @Btryon. We always with you.

      Dawnrichard

    • gabgirl12 profile image

      gabgirl12 4 years ago

      I'm very happy to see a hub of the 'day' that is scientific. And it deals with something that we rarely think about. Some of us don't even know what our blood type is. I found out when I was pregnant with my second child what my blood type was. I would also LOVE to give blood. I have severe anemia though. Thanks for writing it. Knowledge is power! Congrats on being Hub of the Day!

    • Ciel Clark profile image

      Ciel Clark 4 years ago from USA

      Btryon86, very clear, well- researched and important topic. I am amazed that most people don't know their blood type. I didn't until I was thirty and pregnant! Why isn't this a common part of medical history?? Great hub, thanks. (And much more scientific than my wacky one on blood :)

      I didn't vote on your poll though... no space for us RH Negs! Congrats and voted, cheers, CC

    • Btryon86 profile image
      Author

      Btryon86 4 years ago

      Ciel Clark,

      Thanks for your comment! The poll is just to get a general idea of blood type distribution without the Rh factor. You're welcome to participate whether you're positive or negative :) I myself am O-!

    • melpor profile image

      Melvin Porter 4 years ago from New Jersey, USA

      Very well written hub and very informative. The information was explained very thorough.

    • melbel profile image

      Melanie 4 years ago from New Buffalo, Michigan

      Really awesome and uber informative hub! I don't know what blood type I am, but I am thinking of figuring it out when I get into biology in the fall. It would definitely be interesting to find out. Most people in my family are O negative, so I wouldn't be surprised if I am too.

    • jdavis88 profile image

      jdavis88 4 years ago from Twitter @jdavis88hub

      (O+) Excellent Hub! Few people know exactly how great it is to see a bag of O neg hanging in an ER when it is really needed, sadly it is scarce in some places!

      Also, in many cases, Rh factor does not developed until a child is well out of the womb. For this reason, in the rare case that a mother that is Rh neg is pregnant with a child that is already Rh positive there are special risks for the child that is seen as a foreign antigen.

      Voted up, good reading

    • RichieGils profile image

      RichieGils 4 years ago

      Congrats on Hub of the Day, Btryon86! I'm a little embarrassed to admit I don't know my blood type. Perhaps it's time I found out. Excellent presentation of an interesting subject!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      Good information and well-presented. I have a better understanding of the different types of blood now. I am an O positive, making me a universal donor. okay, so 1 in 3 people not too common. Maybe that's what makes me unique. Congrats on hub of the day!

    • Golfgal profile image

      Golfgal 4 years ago from McKinney, Texas

      Great explanation of the blood types. I never really knew the exact differences were actually from an antigen attachment. Very interesting. Congrats on the Hub of Day..you certainly deserved it.

    • pinkhawk profile image

      pinkhawk 4 years ago from Pearl of the Orient

      Thank you very much for the ideas! ^_^ Worth reading...

    • iefox5 profile image

      iefox5 4 years ago

      Helpful introduction for blood dummies like me, thanks !

    • sammimills profile image

      sammimills 4 years ago from California, USA

      Congrats on Being HOTD! Very helpful information you have there. Thanks for sharing.

    • MarleneB profile image

      Marlene Bertrand 4 years ago from Northern California, USA

      Very informative hub. I learned a lot. I like the chart with the ratios. It's interesting to see how many people have the same type of blood as I do.

      By the way, congratulations on receiving Hub of the Day.

    • yougotme profile image

      Renz Kristofer Cheng 4 years ago from Manila

      Great write up on Blood Types! And congratulations for the Hub of the Day award, you earned it well!

    • My Minds Eye53 profile image

      My Minds Eye53 4 years ago from Tennessee

      I found this very interesting and useful. I know I am an "O" but not whether I am positive or negative.

      Voted up and congratulations on Hub of the Day!

    • NZUNG SERAPHINE profile image

      NZUNG SERAPHINE 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing.i am fast becoming a science student.

    • MelChi profile image

      Melanie Chisnall 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

      Biology was never my favourite subject in school. If only we'd had teachers who kept everything as simple and as interesting as your hub! Great work! Voted up and interesting, useful and awesome :)

    • profile image

      ThePelton 4 years ago

      I think I'm a B, but it has been ages since I checked.

    • Dardia profile image

      Darlene Yager 4 years ago from Michigan

      Congratulations on HOTD! Voting up. This is very useful and helpful especially for first time mom's as a couple of people mentioned in their comments above. I have 6 sisters and we are all B-. My mother was B- and my father was O+ but somehow he managed to pass on negative Rh. This is another amazing thing about my family, that somehow they managed to have 11 children and not lose a single one. This was before RhoGam. Since then only one of my sisters fought with sensitisation. She lost two children and managed to carry 3 to full-term 2 of which needed blood transfusions. RhoGam was not enough for her. Maybe you should do a follow up hub on RhoGam and how it works!?

      Great hub, keep up the good work.

    • rahul0324 profile image

      Jessee R 4 years ago from Gurgaon, India

      A very well written and well detailed hub! Brilliant on the information

      Award well deserved!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 4 years ago

      We typed our own blood in my freshman biology class in college. Do they not do that anymore?

    • Btryon86 profile image
      Author

      Btryon86 4 years ago

      MizBejabbers,

      I think it would probably depend on what the focus of the class is. My biology course really hasn't discussed blood types, it has more to do with cell functions and replication proceses.

    • msorensson profile image

      msorensson 4 years ago

      You did a great job.

    • anam hasib profile image

      anam hasib 4 years ago from lucknow

      that was a useful hub..thanx...:)

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Great information and useful too. I still don't know my blood type or perhaps forgotten what it was. I don't know about my kids' blood types either. I have to remind myself for a next family doctor's appointment, to be sure to ask about it. Voted up and sharing. Well deserved Hub of the Day! Congratulations Brandon!

    • profile image

      radhapriestess 4 years ago

      Very well written blog. Now I understand blood types. I am O+ like my father.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 4 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Awesome hub and very helpful too. It is good to know what blood type we have. I am type A+. By the way speaking of blood type, I do remember that when a Type A person and Type O have a baby, there is the tendency that when the baby comes out, they are yellowish. My two sister-in-law experienced this. Hmmmm...

      Congratulations on another accomplishment -this hub has been nominated on the Hubnuggets! Way to go, this way to read and vote https://hubpages.com/community/I-Left-My-HubNugget...

    • mts1098 profile image

      mts1098 4 years ago from InsideTheManCave

      Congrats on the nomination...like ripple I am A+ and I found this hub very well done. This answered the question on the +...cheers and thanks

    • christin53 profile image

      Ann-Christin 4 years ago from UK

      Excellent hub. I'm O- and do remember having to be injected with something when my kids were born.

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      Congratulations on the well earned Hubnugget nomination btryon86.

      http://redelf.hubpages.com/hub/I-Left-My-HubNugget

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 4 years ago from United States

      This is a well written hub about blood, and you covered the topic very thoroughly. Congrats on your Hubnugget nomination.

    • mwilliams66 profile image

      mwilliams66 4 years ago from Left Coast, USA

      Congratulations on winning the Hubnugget award. Very well deserved! (you had my vote)

      Looking forward to reading your next hub.

    • Sustainable Sue profile image

      Sustainable Sue 4 years ago from Altadena CA, USA

      Here's another factor to blood type that I find interesting. It isn't just the blood that's different. There's something about the blood type that slightly changes the entire chemistry in a person's body, such that they respond to food differently as well. There are lists compiled of foods compatible with and antagonistic to different blood types. I've tried the diet and it works for me (Blood Type A+), but some scientists have discredited the theory.

    • RichieGils profile image

      RichieGils 4 years ago

      Congrats on winning the Hubnugget Btryon86! Excellent work!

    • HolyMosses20 profile image

      HolyMosses20 4 years ago from Hammond, Louisiana

      It is so rewarding to be recognized, I'm jealous -lol

      Great job of sharing, helpful info for everyone!

    • Btryon86 profile image
      Author

      Btryon86 4 years ago

      Thank you all for your great comments! And thanks to anyone who voted for me!

    • baygirl33 profile image

      victoria 4 years ago from Hamilton On.

      great information .I love this kind of stuff!

      And congrats on winning the hub of the day.

      Way to go!!

    • profile image

      jean pierre 4 years ago

      It should be better if you include the properties of each group for both female and male

    • Btryon86 profile image
      Author

      Btryon86 4 years ago

      Jean Pierre,

      The basic properties are the same for everyone. They way each sex is affected may be different; for example, a pregnant woman may develop antibodies that attack the fetus' red blood cells if the parent and child have differing blood types, which obviously could not happen to a male. However, the actual function and characterisics of each blood type won't vary from one sex to another.

    Click to Rate This Article