Risk Factor—Stress in Women

In 1974, Friedman and Rosenman published the best seller Type-A Behavior and Your Heart, which was recommended by many cardiologists at that time. As a teenager, I remember my father reading it, and his self-assessment was that he was a Type A. This book motivated many studies and quickly Type A was part of our everyday language. In 1989, Rosch took this idea a step further and proposed that Type A is self-perpetuating behavior because the stress of this behavior induces adrenaline, which correspondingly keeps the person working harder and harder. This idea makes sense to me. For example, when I was an EMT in my younger years, we used to joke about how we were all “adrenaline junkies” that got high from excitement waiting on the rigs for the next call.

Risk Factor—Depression in Women

There are numerous studies that link depression and heart disease more strongly in women than in men. Anxiety also is linked to women who have suffered heart attacks. Anxiety is a normal reaction to a stressor. Women’s worries and anxieties may show up in the body through physical symptoms like back pain, sleeplessness, or stomach discomfort. However, for people who have had a heart attack, anxiety can affect us by manifesting as chest pain and subsequent heart attacks, as well as in the kinds of body/mind/spirit depression described in my book.