Alyssa J. Mansfield, PhD, MPH, an epidemiologist with the National Center for PTSD of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and colleagues, examined more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. Vets with PTSD had about a 50% higher risk of developing heart failure over a seven-year follow-up period, the researchers reported in the American Journal of Public Health.
In the study group, 21% were diagnosed with PTSD. And that cohort was 47% more likely to have developed heart failure. In addition, vets with combat experience were nearly five times more likely to develop heart failure than those who has not seen action.
Other factors weighing on heart failure included advanced age, diabetes, high blood pressure, and being overweight or obese.
The findings are significant, the authors say, as it is the “first large-scale longitudinal study to report an association between PTSD and incident heart failure in an outpatient sample of U.S. veterans.”
The results provide practical information for vets themselves, according to Mansfield, as it indicates that treating symptoms of PTSD may also decrease the likelihood of heart problems down the road.
A new study finds that veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) had a significantly greater risk of developing heart failure when compared with non-PTSD peers.
For the research, Department of Veterans Affairs researchers studied more than 8,000 veterans living in Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. They discovered those with posttraumatic stress disorder had a nearly 50 percent greater risk of developing heart failure over about a seven-year follow-up period.
The findings, which will appear in a forthcoming issue of the American Journal of Public Health, add to a growing body of evidence linking PTSD and heart disease.