Personality Types and Cardiovascular Disease

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“Type D” Personality

Heart disease researchers have identified a new personality type that can influence your health.  Those with the “type-D personality” are heart disease patients who suffer from psychological distress and are more likely to experience “adverse cardiovascular events.”

The “D” does not necessarily stand for depression, though some of these individuals may exhibit symptoms of depression.  Study leader Dr Johan Denollet (Tilburg University, the Netherlands) tells heartwire “This is the type of patient that tells you everything is okay, that there are no problems, but you can sense that something is going on, something is not quite right.”  He goes on, “On the one hand, type-D people have the tendency to experience negative emotions, such as anxiety, depression, stress, and so on,” he said. “At the same time, they also score higher [on tests] measuring social inhibition. Type-D patients are more closed in social interactions and are more unlikely to disclose their personal feelings toward others and tend to feel a bit insecure. This combination makes them more liable to chronic forms of psychological distress.”

Constant stress causes increased levels of stress hormones like cortisol, which can lead to future heart attacks.  Stress can also lead to chronic inflammation, which also can contribute to heart problems.


Stifling Anger at Work Doubles Risk

Researchers have substantiated the well understood theory that stress at work is tied to increased risk of heart disease.  In a new study reported in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, scientists reported that male employees who normally stifle their resentment regarding disagreements with their boss or co-worker were more than two times as  likely to have a heart attack or die of heart disease as those workers who expressed their anger.

Both western and alternative care providers have acknowledged that there is a connection between strong emotions and heart disease.  Chinese medicine takes this a step further to recognize a strong connection between most extremely strong emotions and most diseases.  Traditional Chinese medicine recognizes that emotions play a critical role in development of disease – such as repressed anger impairing the Liver (meridian) which can result in a wide range of illnesses (such as heart disease and migraines) and eye diseases (including glaucoma, dry eyes and eye inflammatory conditions), grief affecting the Kidneys (meridians) and sadness affecting the Stomach/Spleen (meridians).

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Positive Emotions Helpful

A 2010 study reported that happy, enthusiastic, content people are less likely to suffer from heart disease than those whose tendency is toward unhappiness and pessimism. The research is the first showing a significant relationship between heart disease and a positive outlook.

Editor’s Note: Having a positive attitude helps boost us maintain a healthy immune system. Cardiovascular disease can be a major contributor to eye disease such as macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Published: European Heart Journal, Feb. 18, 2010

At we focus on the importance of managing stress in order to improve your overall health, and, by extension, the health of your eyes.  Please read more about ways in which prevention is the best medicine for ails you.