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Type D Personality Worsens Health of Heart Patients

Update Date: May 12, 2012 08:17 PM EDT

Heart patients who have type D personality are more likely to worsen their health, according to a new study.

A study published in the journal Circulation suggests that type D personality, meaning a distressed and generally pessimistic outlook on life, can worsen the health conditions of heart patients. Hence, besides giving medical treatment, doctors need to pay special attention to the psychological condition of their heart patients.

"In my opinion, screening patients would be a worthwhile endeavor, as it will provide important information to health care professionals managing and caring for ICD [implantable cardioverter defrillator] patients on the patient's psychological vulnerability," researcher Susanne Pedersen, a psychologist at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, told WebMD in an email.

The study was conducted involving 383 health patients with ICDs, which keep a check on the heart and report any kind of heart activity that can be life threatening. People having an ICD should be kept away from any kind of distress.

Researchers followed 383 heath patients for over a year. More than 80 percent of these people were men. Before being fitted with an ICD, the patients were asked to answer a questionnaire that assessed their present health status. At three months intervals, the patients were asked to fill the same questionnaire out to assess their heath.

At the end of the study, it was discovered that people having the type D personality were found to have a lesser health score than other patients.

Pedersen suggests that doctors should make their patients aware of the fact that people who use the ICD device far better in the recovery process. Doctors should also explain to their patients that their outlook on life largely influences how fast they recover.

"Heart disease and receiving an ICD are major life events, but it is possible to lead a normal life with an ICD, and the art is to engage in activities that are important to patients and from which they derive joy and happiness," says Pedersen. "This may be easier said than done, but being aware of it and working on it, if necessary with the help of health care professionals, can provide patients with a full life, with a good quality of life."

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