After studying a group of U.S. war veterans, researchers found that individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder might have a higher risk of developing coronary artery disease.
Researchers at Geisinger Health System found that not only were veterans with PTSD more likely to have heart disease, but they were more likely to die three and a half years earlier from any cause than those without PTSD. The study, which evaluated 637 veterans, confirmed previous studies linking PTSD to CAD.
According to statistics from the National Institutes of Health, one in 30 U.S. adults suffers from PTSD in a given year, and that rate is considerably higher in veterans. In response, many long-term care facilities for veterans are adding counseling services.
In The American Journal of Cardiology, the researchers note that these new results “highlight the importance of integrating medical and psychological care in vets, and quickly identifying those who are at risk for PTSD and thus heart disease as well.”
“Little by little, we understood that these patients actually do have a fair amount of other medical problems,” researcher Ramin Ebrahimi, M.D., told Reuters.