Research shows personality types can be connected to heart disease risk


SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) – Research finds that your type of personality can be a risk factor for heart disease. Type A’s were once known to be prone to having heart attacks. But there’s also a type B, C, and D personality.

Where do you fit in and are you prone to having heart problems?

Health expert, Karen Owoc, explains the A, B, C, and D’s of Personality.

Type A: Hard-charging, competitive, driven.

TypeB: The opposite of A: low energy, relaxed, not easily aroused.

Type C: Suppresses emotions,avoids conflicts,strives to be nice.

Type D: Negative emotions, pessimistic, doesn’t share emotions.

Type A’s and Heart Attack

  • In the1970’s and ’80s, type A personality became a popular buzzword. Having a type A personality was associated with having an increased risk for heart attacks.
  • However, subsequent studies do not show a link, but having a type D personality has pointed to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Type D personalities are characterized by a:

  • High level of emotional distress
  • Reluctance or inability to open up to others.Inhibited socially
  • Keep people at a distance
  • Have a pessimistic view on life

Worry a lot Type D’s and Death

  1. A 2004 study revealed that type D personalities were four times more likely than average to DIE or have a HEART ATTACK within 9 months of stent placement.
  2. Per an earlier study, subjects were studied for a period of 6-10 years and found mortality rates differed significantly:
    – 27% higher mortality rate.
  3. One study reported that an elevated heart rate during sleep amongst people who were frequent worriers (a characteristic of type D’s). Type D personalities are trapped in their negative emotions and are subject to high levels of stress.
    – Since type D’s do not get help or share their anxieties, they are unable to relieve that stress.

How to Overcome Type D-related Heart Disease

  • Behavioral interventions: A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that behavioral interventions can help type D personalities.
  • Aerobic exercise
  • Stress management techniques,e.g., meditation or biofeedback.

The Takeaway: There is strong evidence that negative emotions and suppressing your emotions can have negative health consequences. Try to reduce your stress and worrying.

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