The study linking PTSD in women to Heart Disease

Researchers focused on forty nine thousand nine hundred and seventy eight women in their quest to discover what physical ramifications that PTSD had on women’s health. The study focused on women who were under the age of sixty five. The researchers began this study in 1989. Every two years the participants underwent evaluation, including evaluation of cardiovascular occurrences, and diagnosis during the two year period.

What is PTSD?

PTSD is post-traumatic stress disorder. It is a little known fact that twice as many women suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder as men. People with PTSD are the survivors of some type of trauma. These individuals may repeatedly relive the trauma, or they may have constant anxiety attacks, trouble sleeping, or be hyper vigilant.

The Results

The results of the study were alarming. The women suffering from PTSD were twice as likely to have a cardiovascular episode that resulted in death as women who did not suffer from PTSD.
The women who had suffered a traumatic event that caused them to suffer PTSD were more likely to engage in activities that increased their risk of heart attacks. More women that suffer traumatic events in their lives smoke cigarettes than women who had not traumatic experiences.
More women who had suffered traumatic events admitted to using alcohol on a regular basis than women who did not have a traumatic event happen. PTSD sufferers were twice as likely to engage in recreational drug use, and risky social behaviors as women without PTSD.
Women with PTSD were twice as likely to have some type of eating disorder as women without PTSD. Women with PTSD had been eating disorders including:
• Over eating
• Bulimia
• Anorexia
• Binge eating
The increase in dangerous behaviors may be the reason for the increase in the heart attack and stroke risks.

What the study could mean to health care professionals

Health care professionals can take the results of the study and use them to treat their patients with PTSD so that they reduce heart attack and stroke risks. Instead of looking at PTSD as a mental disorder health care professional can look at it as a problem that causes the patient to suffer both physical and mental complications.
Health care professionals can talk to the women with PTSD and explain to them that it is crucial for them to monitor their lives style so that they do not put their hearts at greater risk. If the women are warned about the potential dangers, they will be more likely to make the lifestyle changes they need.

What a woman with PTSD can do to lower her risk

Women who have PTSD can lower their risks of suffering from a heart attack or stroke by making the following changes in their lives.
1. Control weight gain with proper diet and exercise programs
2. Stop smoking
3. Do not drink in excess
4. Do not become sedentary
5. Do not use recreational drugs
6. See your doctor regularly