A “type A” personality is often thought to be something to proud of. Companies look for those seemingly tireless go-getters with high ambitions and the drive to achieve them. Type A people may often seem on track to making their dreams come true. But research suggests there may be a downside to it too—namely, an increased risk of stroke.

According to an article on EurekAlert.org, a paper published online in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry has found a link between a high risk of stroke and chronic stress brought on by “major life stressors and type A personality traits.” Researchers identify major life stressors as those that last for periods longer than six months.

For the study, researchers looked at 150 adults who had been admitted into the same stroke unit and compared them to those of 300 randomly selected people who lived in the same area, but were healthy. Participants answered questions about their lifestyle and were assessed for their risk factors for stroke. They were also checked for symptoms like anxiety and depression and were scored on the ERCTA scale, which measures whether a person exhibits type A personality traits.

The numbers, once collated and compared to those of the healthy control group, were telling. Here are some of them:

  • Scoring high on the ERCTA scale, indicating that you might have a type A personality, doubles your stroke risk.
  • You also double your stroke risk if you were or are a smoker and if you drink an average of two or more energy drinks daily.
  • Daytime sleepiness makes you three times more likely to get a stroke.
  • The same numbers apply to those with heart rhythm disturbances.
  • Experiencing a major life event in the previous year makes you four times more vulnerable to stroke.

All these traits, however, could be associated with type A behavior and a generally stressful life.

So while we’re not saying that you need to put your goals on hold while you chill out and relax, we are saying that it would be a good idea to make sure you invest time and effort in de-stressing, such as taking well-earned vacations, meditating, spending quality time with loved ones and what not. Check out our De-stressing subchannel for tips. And remember, what’s the point of working hard for to be successful if you compromise your health so much you may not be around to enjoy it?

(Photo by Geoff LMV via Flickr Creative Commons)

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