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What is the Difference Between Blood Types O+ and O-

What is the difference between blood type O positive (O+) and O negative (O-)? How are these two blood types different from one another? Who can these blood types donate their blood to? Continue reading to find out the answers to these questions, and other FAQs, about the two blood types...
WellnessKeen Staff
It is a well-known fact that most of our body is made up of water, and this water is what makes up the volume of our blood. Today, we all know that each person has a specific blood type, and it is only the blood belonging to that particular blood type that flows through his veins. It was in the year 1900 that Nobel laureate Karl Landsteiner made the discovery of the different blood types. These were categorized as blood type A, B and O. However, it was later noted that there was an additional trait that needed to be added to the blood type to correctly identify it and this trait was the Rhesus factor, which is described as being positive or negative.
Difference Between Blood Types O+ and O-
The addition of Rhesus factor makes things a bit confusing, and that explains why people have a tough time trying to differentiate between blood types O+ and O-, or other blood groups for that matter. As you go ahead with this write-up, you will get well-versed with the differences between a person who has blood type O positive and a person who is O negative.
Structural Difference
First of all let us try and understand the basic structural difference between O+ and O- blood type. In the universally considered ABO blood grouping system, blood group O is the blood group that has neither antigen A nor antigen B, which is present in blood types A and B respectively. As far as the Rhesus factor is concerned, a person is said to be Rhesus positive if he has the D antigen present on the surface of his red blood cells. If the D antigen is absent, then the person is said to be Rhesus negative. So, a person who is O positive does not have antigen A nor antigen B, but has D antigen present on the surface of his red blood cells. On the other hand, a person who is O negative, has neither antigen A or B, nor antigen D present on the surface of his red blood cells.
Who Can They Receive Blood From?
One of the main purpose of knowing your blood type is that it can help you determine which blood types you can receive blood from in case of an emergency where you need blood. Since O+ does not have antigen A nor B, it cannot receive blood from either blood types A nor B, irrespective of their Rhesus factors. However, they can receive blood from O+ people and also from O- people. While O- people do not have the D antigen, they don't have anti-D antigens either, and therefore they do not agglutinate when they come in contact with O blood type cells that have D antigen. O- patients however, can receive blood only from people who have O- blood type. If any other blood type is introduced into the body of a person who has O- blood type it can result in transfusion reaction. The bottom line therefore is that people with blood type O positive can receive blood from people with O positive as well O negative blood type, but O negative people can only receive blood from someone with O negative blood type.
Who Can They Donate Blood to?
People who have O positive blood type can donate blood to all blood types who have a positive Rhesus factor, as the surface of O blood cells do not have any antigens, i.e. antigen A nor B, and that rules out the chances of blood transfusion reaction. Blood type O negative can donate blood to every blood type, irrespective of the ABO group or the Rhesus group present, this blood type is not known to react with any of the blood types. Simply put, people with blood type O+ can donate blood to A+, B+, AB+ and O+ people, while people with blood type O-, which is often referred to as the universal donor, can donate blood to people with any blood type.
One of the most commonly found blood types in the world is O positive. Whether it is in the general population or even in blood banks, O positive is said to be one of the most common blood types. O negative, on the other hand, is said to be one of the rarest blood types, along with AB negative. This is the reason that many people of blood type O negative tend to encourage others who have this blood type to stay in touch in case of emergencies. There are many portals where people of blood type O negative register, so that it is easy to trace a person with this matching blood type in case of an emergency. Furthermore, since blood type O negative is the universal donor, blood banks often tend to urge people with this rare blood type to come forward and donate blood more regularly.
It is important that a person be well aware of not just what his own blood group is, but also those blood groups from whom he can accept blood and those whom he can donate. Nowadays, the awareness about blood types is increasing, and people have finally understood the importance of donating blood to save other people's lives.