Learning about blood types can be a bit confusing at first.
But the concept of blood types is important for several reasons:
- Blood typing is used frequently in clinical medicine because the use of blood transfusions is common, and therefore so is blood banking and related activities.
- Knowing one's own blood type is important for future medical procedures—perhaps even a life-threatening emergency.
- Concepts of blood typing carry over into other types of tissue typing—a concept useful in transplant medicine.
- Blood typing is a great introduction to basic concepts of immunology (something you'll be coming to soon in your A&P course) like antigens, antibodies, agglutination reactions, self vs. nonself, and more.
- It's just one of those things you have to learn in A&P. Trust us, we know this will be useful to you later on—even if you don't think so now.
Here's a great video that lays out the essential concepts very briefly—in an easy-to-understand way. Sometimes, an explanation that's a bit different than that in your textbook or class discussion helps a new concept "click" in your brain.
Watch the brief video What are Blood Types:
One brief note: the video states that antigens are proteins. That's often true. But in blood typing, the A and B antigens are actually sugars. The Rh antigens are proteins. Not a big deal—they were trying to keep it simple for you.
Here's a copy of the chart of ABO blood types used in the video. You may want to copy-and-paste it into your class notes to supplement your learning resources.