Type A personalities may be more prone to heart disease for several reasons:

  • Type A people tend to be more physiologically reactive than type B people. In challenging situations, type A people have higher pulse rates, blood pressure, and hormone levels. This physiological reactivity can impair health in the long term. For instance, frequent release of stress hormones increases the likelihood of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries because of cholesterol deposits.
  • Type A people may encounter more stressors. For example, because of their behavior, they may be more likely to have marital stress and work-related problems.
  • Type A people may have less social support because of their characteristic ways of relating to people.
  • Type A people may pay less attention to health-promoting behaviors such as getting exercise and resting when tired. They also smoke more and consume more caffeine.

Hostility, a key type A personality feature, relates most to increased risk of heart disease. A tendency to get angry easily is associated not only with heart disease but also impaired immune function and high blood pressure.

Emotional Inhibition

People who have a tendency to suppress emotions such as fear, anxiety, and anger have a higher risk of becoming ill than people who can acknowledge and express their feelings.

Lifestyles That Endanger Health

People’s lifestyles can endanger their health. Three features of problematic lifestyles include smoking, not exercising, and eating poorly.


Smoking increases the risk of many cardiovascular and lung diseases, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, bronchitis, and emphysema. Smoking also increases the risk of cancers of the lung, mouth, bladder, kidney, larynx, esophagus, and pancreas. Although formal smoking cessation programs don’t help most people quit, many people eventually do stop smoking. Research shows that many people quit only after several unsuccessful attempts.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of exercise can also have strong negative effects. Regular exercise leads to longer life expectancy, promotes cardiovascular health, decreases obesity-related problems such as diabetes and respiratory problems, and decreases the risk of colon, breast, and reproductive system cancers.

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