Vijai P. Sharma, Ph.D
The nervous system is chronically hyperreactive in people who suffer from TAB because of their race against time and their conflict and hostility with other people. For example, take animal studies. We know that when animals fight, their blood clots faster than usual, thus, they don't readily bleed to death if injured. The reduction in blood-clotting time is a sign of heightened stress and a hyperreactive nervous system. Similarly, studies have shown that the blood of tax accountants clots faster in the first two weeks of April when they race against time to complete all their clients' tax returns before the April 15 deadline. A person who suffer from TAB disorder has a 15th April deadline, round the year.
When cats fight, they secret excessive amount of epinephrine, which too is a sign of hyperreactive nervous system. Discharge of epinephrine is associated with the emotion of fear. Studies on humans have shown that people who suffer from TAB disorder also secret excessive amount of epinephrine, thereby, indicating a state of increased fear, at least at the physical, if not at the conscious psychological level.
Studies have also shown that there is an excessive discharge of norepinephrine in the people who suffer from TAB disorder. Discharge of norepinephrine is associated with the emotion of anger. Friedman gives an interesting analogy that if a "trembling hand" is a symbol for epinephrine, a "clenched hand" is a symbol for norepinephrine. Since norepinephrine plays a part in constriction and dilatation of the blood vessels, it may also play a role in the treatment of heart problems.
To draw a parallel, our cars, computers, and other gadgets, have both a heating system and a cooling system. Likewise, mother Nature has built in the two systems in us for our survival. One is called "sympathetic nervous system," the heating system that comes to our aid in sympathy, so we can fight or flee from the attacker. The other is the "parasympathetic nervous system," the cooling system, so we can return to the normal and thus rest and restore our energy.
Type A behavior keeps our engine constantly heated. The engine remains constantly "advanced," and the cooling system can't work very efficiently because of the type A behavior. On one hand, TAB keeps the engine overheated because of the excess secretion of certain chemical and hormones, and on the other, it inhibits the secretion of certain chemicals and hormones that normally help us to cool our engine. As a result, our engine remains overheated. The result in many cases is the engine breakdown, which doctors refer to as a heart attack or a cardiac crisis.
Look at the psychological characteristics of type A behavior: impatience; intolerance for errors; hostility; covert insecurity and inadequate self-esteem; pressure to make haste; participation in too many events and activities; excessive acquisition of things; frequent failures in delegation to peers and subordinates; frequent loss of temper while driving; suspicious of others' motives and disbelief of altruism. Which one of them is not stressful?
Many chemicals and stress hormones are excessively produced in people who have a hyperreactive nervous system due to the presence of TAB disorder. Excess secretion of testosterone (a hormone associated with male aggressive behavior) is also reported in TAB patients. TAB patients also had higher level of triglycerides, when tested four, nine, and twenty-four hours after ingestion of fat food than did non type A patients. Researchers have still not studied all the chemicals and hormones. Forget about the laboratory studies and what experts say. It is a matter of common sense. Type A behavior produces emotional stress. Constantly high levels of emotional stress are just not good for your heart and your general health.
As early as the 1950s, Friedman showed us
through careful studies that emotional stress raises
people's cholesterol level. Forty years later,
there are still many heart doctors who are either unaware
of, or reluctant to believe in this mind-blood
cholesterol relationship. They like to believe that
cholesterol level solely depends on what you eat.
Of course, you can lower your cholesterol by dieting and
medication, but you can also lower it by changing your
type A behavior. Undoubtedly, the best approach is
a combination of balanced food, exercise, lifestyle
changes, and lastly medication, if
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