When it is better to get a B than an A: Behavior patterns and coronary heart disease

This process starts off in childhood silently. There are no symptoms, no warnings and no pains. A small globule of fat attaches itself to a wall in an artery leading to the heart. Slowly, as the years pass by, other fat cells join the first, building up a lingering deposit that eventually clogs the passageway through which oxygen rich blood must pass.
Then, one day, a blood clot breaks off in the blood stream. As it reaches the small passageway in the artery that is already obstructed with fat, the blood flow is cut off so much that a part of the heart dies from a lack of oxygen. The result: a heart attack.
This description of the events leading to a heart attack is accurate but slightly misleading. It paints the picture that is purely biological in nature, when in fact it is now known that social and psychological processes are important components of coronary heart disease.
There appears to be a specific constellation of behaviors, referred to as type A behavior pattern, that is associated with a higher risk of heart attack. In order to evaluate yourself answer these questions before reading on.
1. I often try to think of more efficient ways of getting things done.
2. I think myself as driven and ambitious.
3. I am almost always in hurry.
4. I hate waiting in line.
5. I get annoyed when a car in front me drives too slowly.
6. I play games to win-even when I m playing with children.
7. I sometimes find myself thinking about doing multiple things at the same time.
8. I tend to eat more quickly than other people.
9. I hate to be interrupted when I am working.
10. I often get angry at other people.
11. I am more interested in quantity than quality.
12. I feel guilty when I am relaxing.
13. I like to do better than other people.
14. I wish there were more than 24 hours in the day.
If you have agreed to most of the items then you must consider to make some changes in your lifestyle.
Type A people are often driven, ambitious and intensely competitive. They speak rapidly and prone to outbursts of hostility. They experience negative emotions such as anger, depression, hostility, frustration, so that is why they are more apt to coronary heart attack.
On the contrary Type B people are easygoing, uncompetitive patient and only rarely hostile.
The fact is people are not purely A or B, instead, they lie somewhere along a continuum marked by extremes at either end. This Type A people are more physiologically responsive to stress and challenges. Their blood pressure, heart rate, and rate of respiration increase to a greater extent than the responses of type B’s.
It is not surefire that if you have type A then you are destined to suffer from coronary disease. It is only a risk factor. There are people who suffer from heart disease but not type A. But researches show that type A people are more likely to be a victim of it. But nothing to worry about as type A people can be trained and counseled to behave like type B. There are techniques such as deep muscle relaxation training, restructuring negative thoughts to positive, adopting new hobbies and new behavior patterns prove to make significant changes in lifestyle.
Yet, there may be a trade off involved. Type A people tend to get good grades and more successful career. People who modify there behavior may be less successful, in any case, in terms of society measures of success. This may be a small price to pay, considering the alternatives.


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