PTSD and Women: What are the Physical Risks?

PTSD 5In the month of October you probably saw many pink ribbons…or pink socks or scarves. That’s because October was national Breast Cancer Awareness month. Nationwide education efforts about the risks of breast cancer and the need for regular check-ups have been embraced by the American public. But breast cancer is not the only serious health risk for women. Recent studies are revealing that women who’ve undergone a notable life trauma also face a higher risk of heart conditions like stroke or cardiac arrest. The research shows that PTSD and women can be a very risky combination.

The study is a joint study performed by the Harvard and Columbia University schools of Public Health. Researchers gathered data for two decades from roughly 50,000 subjects before publishing their conclusions. Even after controlling for other known risk factors such as being overweight, tobacco use and high blood pressure, the combination of PTSD and women proved to be serious. Women with at least four symptoms of PTSD faced a 60 percent higher chance of heart trouble compared to women with no PTSD history. And women who reported trauma but showed no symptoms of PTSD still faced a 45 percent greater risk of developing serious cardiac problems.

The association between PTSD and women reinforces what more and more health professionals are noting — the direct connection between mental and physical wellness. What happens in our brain correlates strongly with our physical health and well-being. Women who’ve experienced traumatic events may not be aware that the stress of that experience can be associated with serious heart issues later on.

If you’re a woman and you’ve been through a traumatizing life event, it is important to reach out to a trained mental health professional. At Family Guidance Center we can help you understand the symptoms of PTSD and how to move forward toward wellness. Reaching out for help from mental health professionals means you’re moving closer to the quality of life you want to enjoy.
Please contact us and let us help.