A growing number of patient studies show that people who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular diseases, including stroke and heart attack. A new review article in American Journal of Physiology -- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology examines the recent scientific literature to explain how the two are linked.
The authors found evidence that PTSD leads to overactive nerve activity, dysfunctional immune response and activation of the hormone system that controls blood pressure (the renin-angiotensin system). "These changes ultimately contribute to the culmination of increased cardiovascular disease risk," the authors wrote. Cardiovascular events, including stroke and heart attack, also can be stressful enough to cause PTSD symptoms, "putting these individuals at greater risk for future adverse cardiovascular events," the authors noted.
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