Firstly, Happy Halloween to you all!!!! With it being Halloween I thought I would write a post all about blood to make Dracula hungry!
We all unique in our humanistic traits but when it comes to blood, there are many types. Eight to be exact! Our different blood types come from our immune systems that aren’t all the same.
Antigens cover the cells in our body. These are the individual protein markers that function like name tags saying, “These cells belong to you”. When unfamiliar antigens are detected by the immune system, they trigger the release of antibodies that tag foreign invaders and mark them for their termination.
The two antigens that will form on red blood cells are called agglutinogens. Agglutinogens activate antibodies that suffocate the invaders (much like a rugby tackle) and cause coagulation in the blood. The two kinds of agglutinogens are wisely given the names of A and B. This means that blood cells can have one type of agglutinogen, or both, or neither. If there are any antigens on the blood cells then there are no antibodies for it because if there were, then the antibodies would attack the cells. Antibodies will attach the type of antigen that is not present. If red blood cells have A antigens on them, then the blood type of the individual must be A meaning that the antibodies will attack type B. The same concept applies for type B. If you have both then it’s AB, and there are no antibodies for either. Some have neither kind of antigen and genes actually code for agglutinogen that doesn’t work, and antibodies for both A and B are present. This is called type O.
The other set of antigens in blood cells works very differently to the agglutinogens and is known as the Rhesus or RH system and is a collection of 45 different antigens produced as a single group. Having either all of them or none of them is possible. If the red blood cells have the Rh antigens on them, then the individual would be Rh positive, and if not, then the individual would be Rh negative. In total the eight different blood types are being A, B, AB, and O, each with a positive or negative type.
Blood transfusions from one person to another mark that compatibility is important to prevent severe and life-threatening reactions. To find the right match has less to do with what letter you have than what letter you have the antibodies for which can be confusing, so I will try to explain further. Type AB individuals don’t have antibodies for either type A or B, so they can accept A, B, AB, O but type O’s have both A and B antibodies, so they can only allow other O’s. Rh antigens are those with positive types and can accept either positive or negative. However, negative types are the safest taking only negative blood. This is because they can take positive blood only once. After this they are prone to forming antibodies against the Rh antigens that they have received, meaning they can never accept positive blood again.
How do you determine what blood type you are?
If you’re unsure of your blood type, then there is a test available that determines your blood group and is called ABO typing. The blood sample is mixed with antibodies against type A and B blood. Then, the sample will be checked to see whether the blood cells will stick together or not. The blood cells that stick together are the ones who have reacted to the antibodies.
The human body is extraordinary right?!