Knowing your blood type is important. I was recently filling out a volunteer application and was asked to provide my. Fortunately, I knew by heart that I was type O-positive, but I wanted to find documentation to confirm it. I called my mother to see if the blood type is listed on my birth certificate – no luck. I checked my doctor’s health portal – also no luck.
So how can someone determine their blood type if they don’t already know it?
If you have no idea what your type is, you’re not alone. According to a 2019 CBS News poll, only 66% of Americans said they knew their blood type. Considering blood type can be key to understanding your health, including your– and of course saving you in an emergency – it’s important to know what type of blood is flowing through your veins. The good news is that finding out your blood type is relatively simple. Here are three easy ways to find out your blood type.
The basics of blood group
Blood type is categorized into one of eight groups: A-positive, A-negative, B-positive, B-negative, O-positive, O-negative, AB-positive, and AB-negative. But what determines the blood group and what does this blood group mean?
Blood types are determined by antigens – a substance that triggers an immune response – on the surface of red blood cells. There are ABO antigens, which refer to ABO blood groups. This is determined by the ABO gene. For instance:
- A-Type blood group has antigen A
- Type B blood group has antigen B
- Type AB blood group has both A and B antigen
- Type Y does not produce any A or B antigens
There are also Rhesus (Rh) antigens, which determine whether the blood is “positive” or “negative”. If you have Rh proteins on the surface of your red blood cells, you are Rh positive. If you don’t have Rh proteins on the surface of your red blood cells, you have negative blood.
How can you type your blood?
Here are three main ways to type your blood:
- Ask your doctor for a blood test
- donate blood
- Use a home blood test
1. Clinical test
One of the easiest and most effective ways to determine blood type is to ask your doctor for a test. A professional will draw blood and then perform two tests on the blood sample: forward typing and reverse typing.
In direct typing, the blood sample is mixed with antibodies against type A and B blood. Based on the adherence of blood cells when mixed with the antibodies, your blood type can be determined from of the. If your blood cells stick together when mixed with antibodies against type B blood, you have type B blood. If your blood cells stick together when mixed with antibodies against type B blood A, you have type A blood.
To confirm the result, the next step is reverse typing, which means that the blood sample without red blood cells – called serum – is mixed with type A and type B blood cells. Type A blood will contain antibodies against type B blood in the sample and type B blood will contain antibodies against type A blood. Type O blood will contain antibodies against type A and type B. Thus, if the collage occurs when serum is mixed with type B blood cells, you have type A blood, and if sticking occurs when serum is mixed with type A blood cells, you have type B blood.
I recommend calling your doctor’s office to find out how much a blood type test costs and if it’s covered by insurance.
2. Give blood
This is a simple and free way to determine blood type, but the results are not immediate.
If you donate to a blood drive, you can simply ask the staff for your blood type. Blood is usually not tested immediately, so it may take up to a few weeks to get results.
3. Home blood test
Home tests are relatively simple. You’ll usually start by wiping your finger with an alcohol wipe, then prick your finger with a disposable lancet to draw blood. Then you will wipe blood on the provided card. Depending on how the blood dries, clumps, or spreads, you’ll be able to compare your bloodstain to a score card. Within minutes you will be able to determine your blood type.
More for your well-being
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical or health advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.