Discussion Questions

A. The Type A personality had long been tied to the development of heart disease. How has this view held up over time? Have alternative suggestions been made regarding the links between personality traits and heart disease?

B. Is depression associated with heart disease? Why would this occur?

C. Define both Type A and Type D personality and discuss how each are related to heart disease. Do you hold any store in the importance of the Type D personality in relation to cardiovascular illness?

D. What is chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and how does it develop?

E. What are the different stroke subtypes? For which subtype would tissue plasminogen activator be used to treat individuals and why?

F. It was maintained that positive experiences can limit the occurrence of heart disease. How would this occur? Is it a matter of such experiences producing biological changes that improve heart health, and if so, what are these biological processes? Alternatively, do positive experiences (and positive psychological states) act against the adverse effect brought about by stressful experiences?

G. Many illnesses share underlying mechanisms. For example, microbiota and short chain fatty acid metabolites, as well as inflammatory factors are apparent in depressive illness, heart disease and some forms of cancer. Likewise, obesity and lack of exercise are linked to both these disorders. Given the presence of these common factors, why might one person develop one illness and not another, whereas a second individual might develop a different condition?

H. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements were reported to enhance heart health in some studies, whereas this outcome was not apparent in other studies. In fact, systematic reviews that are supposed to sort out what the bulk of the data actually indicate, ended up with different conclusions. What might account for the different conclusions and what do you believe is correct? As a follow-up, do you suppose that omega-3 obtained from foods have effects that differ from those that come from supplements?