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Why Can’t You Use Blood from Someone Who Has a Different Blood Type Than You?

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola

Blood Types

Story at-a-glance -

  • Everyone has one of four blood types – A, B, AB, or O – which is inherited from your parents
  • Your blood type is determined by the presence or absence of two antigens – A and B – on the surface of red blood cells. A third antigen, called Rh factor, will either be present or absent, making your blood type positive or negative
  • If incompatible blood types are given during a transfusion, the donor cells will be attacked by the patient’s immune system, which may cause shock, kidney failure, and death
  • Everyone can receive type O blood, the most common type in the US, as it has neither A nor B antigens on red cells

Everyone has one of four blood types — A, B, AB or O — which is inherited from your parents, like your eye color, dimples, or curly hair. While all blood is similar in its components (such as containing red cells, platelets, and plasma), it also has important characteristics that make it unique.


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