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

Eight Fascinating Facts About Fascia

Fascia has been enjoying the limelight in the fitness industry as one of the hottest topics in recent conference programming, workshops and ...

Cardio and Creative Core

Group fitness participants can’t seem to get enough of creative core and cardiovascular exercises. If you need innovative ideas to cha...

Wake Up Your Glutes!

It’s a sad fact of modern life that the gluteus maximus, the largest muscle in the body, often becomes inhibited and “turns off.” Ironically, this inhibition can be the culprit behin...

Functional Strength Training Combinations

Functional training essentially involves moving the body through different planes of motion while working multiple muscle groups and challenging balance. This Add It Up! strategy includes an upper-bod...

Benefits of Mind-Body Activities for Kids

Today’s fast-paced, digital world pressures children to grow up fast. Instead of running around grassy playgrounds, most of them live ...

The Parkour Phenomenon

Parkour gyms have seen increased demand as the training protocol has been featured more and more in films and commercials. The increasing po...

A Back-Pain Solution

Starting with the basics. Personal trainer Jamal Younis first met 38-year-old Jessica in August 2014. Jessica, a former competitive collegia...

Cert by Selfie

Surf around on any of the major social media networks these days—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and especially Instagram—and you&r...

Sample Class: Functional Strength for Older Adults

Baby Boomers are constantly bombarded with promises to lift, tighten and rejuvenate their bodies and “turn back the clock.” Truthfully, fitness professionals can roll back the clock for ol...

Liver Injury Due to Herbals and Dietary Supplements Is Up

If you regularly take herbals and dietary supplements, it may be time to reevaluate why you take them and what the potential cost to your he...