Did Your Blood Type Trigger Vitiligo?
A couple of months ago I was mentally reviewing events that transpired before the onset of my vitiligo. Had I been going through any unusually stressful times? Hmmm, well I was pregnant with my third child, who was conceived 6 months after my second child was born, so that could have been too much for my body to handle. I was in the process of selling my retail store, but that was very exciting, so that wouldn’t have been a factor.
Suddenly I remembered that during my first pregnancy I was told that my blood group was O and RH negative; RH negative is much rarer than RH positive, only 16% of the world’s population is negative. This fact made me wonder if I was onto something.
I posted a question on my Vitiligo Friends Facebook page asking if anyone else was RH-. Many women said yes, but most of the men and women had no idea that the RH factor was different from ones blood type (A, B, AB, or O), so the answer was inconclusive because not enough people knew their RH factor.
My online search to see if there could, indeed, be a link between the rare blood factor RH- and vitiligo began…here’s what I found:
What Is RH Negative?
By Kim Kenney, eHow Contributor
The Rh factor is part of your blood type. In addition to being A, B, AB and O, blood can be Rh positive or Rh negative. It is important to know your blood type so you can receive the correct blood type for a transfusion and during pregnancy.
In the simplest terms possible, what is Rh factor?
RH factor is an antigen on the red blood cells which may induce specific antibodies which may destroy the blood cells.
Scientists Karl Landsteiner and A. S. Weiner identified the Rh factor in 1940 which connected human blood with that of the rhesus monkey.
Positive vs. Negative
The Rh factor is determined by the antigens present in your blood. Rh positive blood has antigens present, while Rh negative blood does not.
The Rh negative blood type is extremely rare. According to The Red Thread, only 16.6% of the population worldwide has Rh negative blood.
An Rh negative pregnant woman’s immune system may make antibodies against Rh positive blood cells, including those of her unborn baby. This condition is called Rh sensitization. The Rh positive fetus that has been attacked by the mother’s immune system can become anemic, suffer congestive heart failure or even die. .
According to Lisa Shea, genetics play a role in determining Rh factor. The only way a child can be Rh negative is if both parents are also Rh negative, because the negative factor is recessive.
A scientific study about the correlation:
Title: Association of A, B, O and Rh blood groups with Vitiligo Authors: R. Ghaderi1, A. Alipour2
Background and Aim: Vitiligo is an acquired depigmentary dermatitis on an otherwise normal skin, which involves 1-2% of general population. Despite Various hypotheses and theories postulated, its etiology remains unknown. Genetic factors and blood groups seem to be implicated, to some extent, in the etiology of the disorder. This study was done to determine the association of Vitiligo with A, B, O blood groups and Rh.
Materials and Methods: In this case control study two groups were compared; one with 100 Vitiligo cases and the other (the control group) consisting of 100 patients without the disorder in the dermatology clinics of Birjand. Then, blood groups and Rh of both groups were determined. Incidence of each blood group among patients was compared with that of the control group. Data were analyzed by SPSS package, using t and chi- square tests.
Results: Blood groups A, B, AB, and O in Vitiligo cases were found to be, 32%, 33%, 7% and 28%; while they were 43%, 21%, 13% , and 23% in the controls, respectively. Thus, the differences were significant (2=6.85, P<0.05). The incidence of Rh positive and Rh negative blood groups in Vitiligo cases were found to be 87% and 13% compared to 83% and 17% in the controls respectively, but these differences weren’t significant (2=6.7, P>0.05).
Conclusion: The results obtained through this study show that subjects with blood group B are more susceptible to Vitiligo as compared to those with other groups but there is no significant association of Vitiligo with Rh.
Even though this one study does not show a correlation, I’m still not convinced that it could be a factor in whether or not the vitiligo gene activates.
Are you RH- or RH+?