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PTSD and Heart Disease

Jun 15, 2011 2:25:52 PM / by staff

As years pass and you feel yourself growing older, it is only natural to begin thinking about ways to stay healthy and youthful for as long as possible. New studies are increasingly revealing that behavioral health and physical health can both be a component of anti-aging care.

The connection between behavioral health and physical well-being is an important one. According to a recent study, people who experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are at an increased risk for heart disease. PTSD may specifically cause higher levels of atherosclerosis, which is essentially a buildup of harmful artery plaque. This plaque can cause strokes and heart attacks as well as death.

In the study of around 300,000 veterans, the ones suffering PTSD showed death rates that were over twice as high as those that did not suffer from PTSD. Plaque in the arteries appeared to be a large contributor to the increased risk of death. Patients with PTSD are frequently at an enhanced state of anxiety, and learning simple stress management tactics as part of behavioral therapy can help reduce stress levels and increase coping abilities.

While these results are preliminary they do decisively show that patients with PTSD, which can potentially affect as many as one in every 10 Americans today, must seek treatment with a qualified professional as soon as possible and have regular check-ups with their physician. If they are found to have elevated levels of atherosclerosis, it is important to be aware of that so anti-aging steps can be taken and the patient can work on decreasing their risk of heart attack. According to these new studies, proper treatment may literally be a life saver.

Tags: Behavioral Health, Lifestyle and Behavior

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