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Interrupting: The Hidden Heart Attack Trigger

What are the common risk factors for a heart attack? Obesity, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure rate at the top of the list. But most heart attack victims have absolutely NO advance warning symptoms. Believe it or not, the first heart disease symptom they experience is the actual heart attack!

There is a little-known risk factor that doesn’t show up on ANY of the traditional tests. It doesn’t show up on any blood test and you can’t detect it with a stethoscope or EKG or any other high-tech medical scans, either.

So what is this mystery heart attack trigger? People who interrupt conversations, and excessively compete for attention are at greater risk for heart problems according to several university studies. One study at Duke University found that people who interrupt are seven times more likely to get heart disease.

In another study, research was obtained over 22 years on 750 white, middle-class men. Michael Babyak, a researcher at Duke University Medical Center, along with his colleagues at three other institutions found that men who are identified as socially dominant were 60% more likely than other personality types to die of all causes during the study period.

The study conveys that social dominance is as much of a risk factor as hostility. Men who spoke calmly and quietly had lower rates of heart disease and early death compared to all other personality types. Babyak and his co-authors, Margaret A. Chesney and George Black, UCST, and David Ragland, UC Berkeley, theorize that socially dominant men are more chronically aroused and stressed. They release more damaging stress hormones.

However, socially dominant women may be at a lower health risk than men because dominance may mean something different for women. For men, dominance may be getting ahead of other people for the sake of getting ahead, which could be a key component of its danger. But for women, dominance could mean getting more support for one’s cause.

Researchers believe that people who interrupt are excessively competitive and controlling-characteristics of the worst “Type A” personalities. It is not clear if social dominance is genetically or environmentally determined. Regardless, people can lower their risk of disease and death by modifying their behavior.

The high-risk people can lower their risk without drugs, exercise, or dietary changes. All they need to do is simply learn to listen and modify their behavior.

Listening is an important skill for any lawyer, but really not that easy for most of us.

In one study, the participants focused on being silent while others talked. The results were amazing. They lowered both their blood pressure and their stress hormone levels. If you like to interrupt, practice listening skills or take a seminar on listening techniques. Try modifying your behavior a little. It will make you a better lawyer and you just may live longer!

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