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Increased Medical Risk for Veterans With PTSD

Medical Risk for Veterans With PTSDVeterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to have a medical condition associated with obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The condition, called metabolic syndrome, is linked to PTSD among veterans after controlling for other factors such as depression or substance abuse.

Metabolic syndrome is composed of a cluster of clinical signs including obesity, high blood pressure and insulin resistance. It has been associated with diabetes, cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.

Any traumatic event or series of events can cause posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). According to the UK National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE), up to 30% of people who have experienced a traumatic event may go on to develop PTSD and it may affect about 8% of people at some point in their lives.

Pia Heppner, of the Veterans Affairs of San Diego, VA Center of Excellence for Stress and Mental Health (CESAMH) and the University of California San Diego, with a team of researchers from the VA, analyzed clinical data from 253 male and female veterans.

They found that those with a higher severity of PTSD were more likely to meet the diagnostic criteria for metabolic syndrome.

“This line of research suggests that stress and post-stress responses are related to long-term health outcomes. Studies show that veterans, prisoners of war and individuals exposed to severe trauma have higher rates of physical morbidity and mortality and increased health care utilization,” noted Dr. Heppner.

“Our findings suggest that metabolic syndrome provides a useful framework for assessing and describing the physical burden of PTSD and can be used prospectively to evaluate health risks that may be associated with combat exposure and PTSD.”

The research is published in the open access journal BMC Medicine.

Source: BioMed Central

Increased Medical Risk for Veterans With PTSD

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Increased Medical Risk for Veterans With PTSD. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 11, 2018, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2009/01/08/increased-medical-risk-for-veterans-with-ptsd/3601.html

 

Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
Published on PsychCentral.com. All rights reserved.