My A+ blood type royale, my bloody mary cocktail, and what I learned about blood groups

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I have a 'royal' blood type A, my bloody mary cocktail - and what I learned about blood groups
When my doctor informed me that my blood type was A+, she cried out the words "royal blood."

I felt the strangest sense of pride. In popular belief, A and AB blood type seems to be the dominant blood group of some royalty who feel they have the right to rule through DNA and through blood line.

It was a silly feeling that I have to force it down. I don't really know much about blood and what it really meant to have type A+ blood.

Most people think about blood types as something medical in nature: that when somebody ends up in a hospital in need of blood, the doctors there would need to make sure they transfused him with a suitable type.

Realizing that fact, questions came to mind. Like why do we have different blood types, which of them are compatible, and what do they do?

Here's what I learned.


What exactly is Blood?

According to Dr. Mercola of Mercola.com, blood is a living tissue made up of red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma (which is more than 90 percent water). Our body weight is about seven percent blood. Men have about 12 pints of blood in their body while women have about nine.

Blood’s main role is to transport oxygen throughout our body, although it also plays a role in fighting off infections and carrying waste out of our cells.


Which blood types are compatible?

More than a century after their discovery, we still don’t know what blood types are for. Blood types remain strangely mysterious and scientists have yet to come up with a good explanation for their very existence.

What we know so far is that blood types must be carefully matched to avoid potentially deadly consequences.

A diagram from the American Red Cross explains which blood types are compatible with others:

Which blood types are compatible?
Diagram: American Red Cross



The evolution of blood types

Live Science, a website which features groundbreaking developments in science, technology and health said, “Blood type A is the most ancient, and it existed before the human species evolved from its hominid ancestors,"

"Type B is thought to have originated some 3.5 million years ago, from a genetic mutation that modified one of the sugars that sit on the surface of red blood cells,"

"Starting about 2.5 million years ago, mutations occurred that rendered that sugar gene inactive, creating type O, which has neither the A nor B version of the sugar."

"And then there is AB, which is covered with both A and B sugars."

"But incompatibility is not part of the reason humans have blood types. Blood transfusion is a recent phenomenon (hundreds of years, not millions), and therefore had nothing to do with the evolution of blood groups,’ the website said.


7 Fun Facts

Then again, why get serious? As I kept googling around in search of more "blood," I saw these fun trivia from Discover Magazine which is worth sharing, as follows:

1. Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1901 by observing that blood from people of different types would clot when mixed together. He later classified them as A, B and O.

2. ABO isn’t the only blood grouping system, however. There are currently 33 systems recognized by the International Society of Blood Transfusion, with monikers like Lutheran, Duffy, Hh/Bombay and Ok.

3. Blood type refers to different molecules on the surface of red blood cells. A mismatch of these molecules between donor and recipient can trigger a fatal immune reaction after a blood transfusion, as the recipient’s body attacks the outsider blood.

4. But not all blood types matter for all transfusions. Some variants are very rare, or exist only in certain ethnic groups, so the danger of getting a mismatch is, for most people, low.

5. The Junior blood type was formally classified just two years ago when researchers pinpointed the molecule responsible for it. The vast majority of people are Junior positive, but more than 50,000 Japanese are Junior negative. For them, a mismatch can cause a dangerous reaction.

6. Blood types aren’t unique to humans. Dogs have more than a dozen, for example.

7. Before blood types were discovered, doctors experimented with blood transfusions between humans and animals. It didn’t go well.


Recipe for the Bloody Mary cocktail

And while we're at it on the "blood" topic, here's a simple mix:

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Vodka
nearly i/2 cup tomato juice
2 dashes Worcestershire sauce
lemon juice
1 pinch salt
4 dashes peppers or hot sauce
1 stalk celery

Add Vodka, tomato juice, worcestershire sauce, lemon juice, pinch of salt, pepper (or hot sauce)

Pour back and forth between two mixing glasses.

Serve into an ice-filled highball glass.

Garnish with celery stalk.


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