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Do you know your type? Most people don't know their own blood type - but you can still be a donor, whatever group you are in.

the same blood group, it's vital that NHS Blood and Transplant has a constant supply of all blood types.

"We keep a very close eye on the stocks of each blood group to make sure that patients can always get the blood they need," say Gail Miflin.

n truth, it's not essential for patients who need a blood transfusion to know their own blood type - however, it is vital that the doctors looking after them do. It's the medical team's job to establish the patient's group so they can transfuse compatible blood. But if there isn't time to do this - for example in an emergency - the universal blood type (O negative) is used.

"Donated blood only lasts 35 days, so we need to have the right number of donors from each group giving blood at the right time to meet the needs of patients."

39% GROUP A 3% GROUP AB BLOOD DONOR BREAKDOWN 10% GROUP B 48% GROUP O In order to have enough blood to meet every patient's needs, it's important to have the right mix of blood types among those who donate. According to new research, although 50% of people don't know their blood type, around a third of those who do actually found out through becoming a blood donor.

IN DEMAND With a 40% decline in new donors coming forward over the last 10 years, blood for all types are now urgently needed. Indeed, some rarer types are only found within the black and South Asian communities, which happen to have a high prevalence of Sickle Cell Disorders and Thalassemia - conditions requiring regular blood transfusions - so it's absolutely vital that people in these communities come forward to donate.

ON THE RECORD If you've ever had an operation or had a baby, your blood type will be on your medical records, otherwise it might never had been tested before. Donating blood is a good way to find out, as you'll be told yours when you're sent a donor card up to four weeks after you first donate.

Monica Korpal explains how vital blood transfusions have kept her alive "Don't worry if you don't know yours already," reassures Dr Gail Miflin, Associate Medical Director of Blood Supply."We need people from all the blood groups to become donors and start saving lives."

I've received three-weekly blood transfusions for over 35 years," says Monica, who has the inherited the blood disorder Thalassaemia. "Thanks to them I can lead a normal life.

The science behind blood types was actually discovered by Karl Landsteiner in 1900. Before he discovered the four main groups - O, A, B and AB - blood transfusions sometimes saved a patient's life, but in other cases would kill them. The Austrian physician worked out that patients had different blood types and therefore needed to be given compatible blood - lifesaving work that won him the Nobel Prize.

Without blood donations I wouldn't be here.

Because it is always safest to give Call 0300 123 23 23 or visit to register as a new donor

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 11, 2015
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