Although healthcare providers obtain your blood type when needed, it is helpful for all people to know their own blood type. This could be helpful in the event you are a match and can donate blood for a friend or family member, and it can also be important if you have a rare blood type to donate for others.
Put simply, blood is classified by the antigens present in one’s red blood cells. While there are many different factors that go into determining a blood type, there are four general classifications: type A, type AB, type B, and type O. The second most important thing to know about your blood type following your ABO classification is the presence or lack of the D antigen. This is the difference between an individual with O positive blood and O negative blood.
So why do we care about blood type at all? Blood type plays a major role in the acceptance of donated blood. An individual can generally always receive blood from another individual with the same blood type. In many cases, other blood types are also compatible. The following chart shows the compatibility of each blood type:
Individuals with type O negative blood are often called universal donors, as type O blood can generally be received by individuals with all blood types. Those with blood type AB positive are often called universal recipients, as these individuals can generally receive any type of blood. Type O negative blood is always needed because emergency situations often require blood before a patient’s blood type is known. Everyone is encouraged to donate blood, but the roughly 7 percent of people with type O negative blood are always strongly encouraged, as type O negative blood is often in short supply.
Knowing your blood type may save your life. More importantly, you may help save the lives of countless others by donating blood.
“The authors of this site are not physicians and the posts here should not be taken as medical advice.”