Type A Personality May Increase Stroke Risk

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Dec 13, 2012

Mind-Body-Spirit News

Mind-body professionals and other fitness pros may want to offer beneficial stress reduction services to clients—especially those who are most driven to succeed. Among both men and women, people with a type A personality—characteristic of highly competitive and achievement-oriented individuals—may have a higher risk of stroke than their more relaxed and easy-going peers, according to a study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry (2012; doi: 10.1136/jnnp-2012-302420). As is the case with heart disease, stress levels seem to be the important risk factor.

Researchers from the Hospital Clinico Universitario San Carlos in Madrid conducted a study to evaluate the relationship between stress and stroke, with the additional aim of assessing gender influences.

Investigators collected data from 150 patients, aged 18–65, with a diagnosis of stroke. For the control group, the same data was gleaned from 300 local residents with no history of stroke. The information gathered included questionnaires concerning stressful life events, general health, quality of life, and personality type; clinical history related to relevant conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, heart disease, smoking and sleep apnea; and demographics concerning age, gender, education, and use of stimulants, relaxants or recreational drugs.

Data analysis revealed that stressful habits and type A behavior were associated with high risk of stroke and that gender did not modify this relationship. Study authors noted that addressing the influence of stress could serve as an adjunctive therapeutic line in the primary prevention of stroke among those at risk.

Lead study author Jose Antonio Egido, MD, stroke unit coordinator in the department of neurology at Hospital Clinico Universitario San Carlos, said, “The association between stroke and high levels of stress in the previous year is consistent. The type A personality probably reflects how individuals cope with stress. Our study emphasizes the need [to take] into account psychological aspects in the evaluation of cerebrovascular risk. This association is not necessarily a causal relationship, so further investigations are recommended.

“We cannot avoid stress in real life, but we can modify the way we face stress. Physical activity is at the present time a strong recommendation in stroke prevention, not only for the cardiovascular effects, but also potentially for the antistress properties of exercise practice.”

IDEA Fitness Journal, Volume 10, Issue 1

© 2013 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, was the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA’s mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author base...


Trending Articles

20 IDEA World-Renowned Presenters Share Advice on Success and Happiness

We asked some of this year’s most influential and motivating IDEA World Fitness Convention™ presenters to share the single piece of advice they would give another fitness/health pro to hel...

Smooth Move: Creative Additions to Consider for Smoothies

When looking for a quick breakfast or post-workout nourishment, almost nothing beats a smoothie. Whirl in the right ingredients and the blen...

Mindful Walking

Walking can be more than just moving physically from one location to another. It can be a metaphor for your larger life journey. Things you&...

Nuts and Peanuts Reduce Cardiovascular Risk and Prolong Lifespan

While there have been numerous studies in recent years touting the health benefits of nuts and peanuts, new research published online March ...

Cut Risk of Alzheimer’s with MIND Diet

Conservative adherence to a new diet, appropriately known by the acronym MIND, could significantly lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, according to a paper published o...

Yes, You CAN Develop Better Eating Habits

Analogous to laying out your exercise gear so it’s the first visual reminder you have of your commitment to exercise each day, imagine...

7 Ways to Help a Client Boost Adherence

Once a client has decided to make nutritional changes to support weight loss, you can play a key role in developing an action plan that is m...

Low Intensity vs. High Intensity: Which Is Best for Obese Adults?

The debate continues regarding the most effective exercise measures for reducing abdominal obesity and improving glucose measures.

The Reason Your Clients Don't Acieve Their Goals

Lots of people hire personal trainers or join group fitness classes hoping to lose weight. Yet many fail to meet their goals. New research suggests that “progress bias”—overestimatin...

Treadmill Performance and Mortality Link

nterested in predicting how long you’ll live? Hop on the treadmill. That’s according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Unive...