TEXAS (KIAH) – In Texas, the stroke death rate for ages 35 and up is 78 per 100,000, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And now, researchers may have found that your blood type may affect your risk of early stroke.

The University of Maryland concluded those with type A blood are 12% more likely to have a stroke when they are under the age of 60 than other blood types.

“The number of people with early strokes is rising. These people are more likely to die from the life-threatening event, and survivors potentially face decades with disability. Despite this, there is little research on the causes of early strokes,” said study co-principal investigator Steven J. Kittner, MD, MPH, Professor of Neurology at UMSOM.

Researchers also discovered that those with type O blood were at a 12 percent lower risk of having an early stroke.

According to a press release, the Maryland team conducted the study by performing a meta-analysis of 48 studies on genetics and ischemic stroke looking at data from 17,000 stroke patients and nearly 600,000 healthy controls who never had a stroke. They then looked across all collected chromosomes to identify genetic variants associated with a stroke and found a link between early-onset stroke – occurring before age 60 – and the area of the chromosome that includes the gene that determines whether a blood type is A, AB, B, or O.

Age also plays a factor. Dr. Carol Nwelue, Baylor Scott & White Health, said age 55 is when the risk of stroke starts to significantly increase.

“We already know that people over the age of 55 can increase their risk of stroke just based on their age. So for every 10 years, over 55 years, risk of stroke doubles. That sounds pretty scary, but there are things that we can do about that” she said.

Dr. Nwelue gave these actions you can take now to help prevent early stroke, including:

  • Limiting alcohol use
  • Not smoking
  • Maintaining a good healthy lifestyle with diet and exercise.
  • Talk to your doctor about managing high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart arrhythmias