Health: Personality clue to heart attacks

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The Independent Online
Negative, insecure and distressed people are three times more likely to suffer a second heart attack than those with other types of personality, according to research published yesterday. Dr Johan Denollet and a team from the University of Antwerp in Edegem, Belgium, carried out tests on 87 men who had suffered a severe heart attack.

The men, all at risk of having more attacks, were monitored for six to 10 years. Researchers found the rate of recurrent heart attack for men with "type D" personalities, characterised by anxiety and negative thinking, was 52 per cent, compared with 12 per cent for non-"type D" individuals. "Type D" people were identified by scores for two particular traits - feelings of worry and anxiety, and social inhibition or lacking assertiveness.

Previous research has "type A" behaviour - characterised by anger and hostility - as a risk factor for heart attack. But Dr Denollet said "type D" findings were more reliable because they depended on two personality traits rather than the "hotchpotch" of signs and symptoms associated with "type A" individuals. The results were published in the American Heart Association journal, Circulation.

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