Most of us are familiar with Type A personalities - aggressive, driven, blunt, obsessive, and insensitive. Chances are that you’ve worked with a Type A (or been married to one, have one for a family member, etc.) or otherwise interacted with a Type A on at least one occasion during your life. (Heaven forbid you have the misfortune to be a Type A!) With their in-your-face-it's-my-way-or-the-highway approach, Type A's are easy to identify and certainly easy to remember if you’ve crossed swords with one. It’s long been known that their rather unique approach to life puts Type A's at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to heart disease or heart attack, which comes as no surprise to those of us who have to interact with Type A's on a regular basis. What may come as a surprise to many is that the Type D personality is also at risk for heart disease right along with their Type A counterparts.
Type D personality is at risk for heart disease? Since Type A personalities tend to garner all the attention, especially when it comes to discussions of heart disease, a little digging was required to find out what a Type D personality was. When you see Type D, think “worrier” or chronically “negative” (which may explain why Type D is also referred to as the “distressed” personality). If you remember the old Winnie the Pooh stories, then you’re probably familiar with the donkey Eeyore - he’s dismal, gloomy, melancholy, pessimistic, and just a little socially backward (inhibited). For Eeyore, the world is one great big negative woe-is-me kind of place. Eeyore is a classic Type D personality.
Can being a chronically negative Eeyore Type D person really lead to future heart problems? According to Viola Spek, Ph.D., from Tiburg University, Netherlands, the answer is a definite yes. Spek was the lead researcher on a study that examined the results of more than 49 independent studies all of which focused on Type D personalities and either heart or psychological health. In all, the studies included more than 6,000 participants.