Sure, people with Type A personalities are probably highly organized and efficient and way more successful than they rightly should be. But the joke's on them! And by joke, we mean "higher likelihood of having a possibly life-threatening stroke."
Spanish researchers at a Madrid hospital conducted a survey using 150 patients who had recently suffered a stroke, along with 300 healthy neighbors. They were looking for signs of a link between chronic stress and stroke, while controlling for other biological, social and environmental factors.
They found that people who showed signs of having a Type A personality -- the multitasking, driven workaholics -- had double the risk of suffering a stroke as compared to their more laid-back neighbors, according to a paper in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.
Smoking and drinking two or more energy drinks each day also doubled a person's stroke risk, while people with heart arrythmia and poor sleep quality had more than three times the risk for stroke.
Still, far and away the largest risk factor for stroke is something fairly uncontrollable: gender. The researchers found that men's risk for stroke was nine times that of women.
Previous studies have linked Type A behavior to other conditions, including heart disease. In one study of 2,398 Type A men, 7 percent developed heart disease in the first five years. Men that showed the strongest pattern of Type A behavior were more likely to have a heart attack within the first five years.
Correlation is not necessarily causation, though - other factors associated with being Type A, like smoking and having high cholesterol, could be the key, rather than the Type A's self-stressing lifestyle.
SOURCE: Egido et al. "Is psycho-physical stress a risk factor for stroke? A case-control study." J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry, published online 27 August 2012.
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