Whether it is in our bodies or donated to help others, blood is an important part of our lives. Even though it all looks the same, every person’s blood is different. There are more than 50 factors that determine blood compatibility, all of which begin with blood type. Blood type is determined by the presence or absence of A and B antigens on the surface of red blood cells. Blood type A is blood that has only the A antigen present in the red blood cells, but what it means to have type A blood is much more than the presence of an antigen.
Type A blood, at its most basic, means that the A antigen is present on the red cells, and has a B antibody present in the plasma. This means that people with type A blood cannot receive blood from donors who have the B antigen. Type A recipients can only receive blood from type A and type O donors.
The other factor that determines who can and cannot receive a specific blood type is the Rh factor. Blood types with the Rh factor present are positive (+), while blood types where it is absent are negative (-). Patients with negative blood types can only receive blood that is negative, while patients with positive blood types can receive both negative and positive blood. If you are type A-, you can only receive from A- and O- donors, while A+ patients can receive from A+, A-, O+ and O- donors.
Believed to be one of the original blood types, type A blood is one of the most common in the United States, accounting for 34 percent of people. Blood type A- only occurs in six percent of the population. Around the world, blood type A appears most commonly in the Aborigines people of Australia, the Blackfoot Indian tribe of Montana, and the Lapps people of Northern Scandinavia; all unrelated populations found in different continents. Generally, most people of European descent are found to have blood type A, while there is almost no distribution of the blood type A in South America.
At Carter BloodCare, we focus on finding blood donations that meet the needs of the community. Thankfully, in our community we see a lot of donors with blood type A stepping up to make a difference and give life. If your blood is type A, either positive or negative, you can always make a difference in the community. Whether it is through whole blood or automated donations, there are always parts of your blood that can make transfusion possible in your community.