Women With PTSD May Also be at Greater Risk for Heart Troubles

Stress of PTSD Plus Lifestyle Choices Increases Chances of Stroke, Heart Attack

PTSDUnhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking and lack of exercise can increase many health risks including your chances of heart attack, but research shows that these are not the only factors which may contribute to your chances of cardiac arrest. Studies show that the stress of PTSD can also increase the risk even for people with otherwise healthy lifestyles – particularly for women.

According to specialists, the stress of untreated PTSD can lead to micro-vascular disease in which the tiny arteries deep inside the heart spasm or just can’t seem to relax. It gives credence to the mythic dangers of losing someone you love. Doctors say that the stress of a broken heart can produce heart attack. In other words, you really can die from a broken heart.

This means that heart attack and stroke don’t only strike those with plaque build-up in their arteries or those with an inactive lifestyle. A long-term study of 55,000 females started in 1989 is finding that PTSD can be a significant risk factor for women. Researchers asked participants to give any history of traumatic events. The study concludes that women with a traumatic experience plus four symptoms of PTSD have a 60 percent higher chance of cardiac event over women with no trauma history. Women with trauma but no PTSD symptoms face a 45 percent higher chance of heart attack.

Heart attack and stroke are not a concern only for the elderly or those with unhealthy lifestyles. The constant tension and interrupted sleep associated with PTSD can also put women at increased risk. If you are a woman who has experienced a traumatic life experience and have even one or two symptoms of PTSD, your chances of a heart event are higher. Treating your PTSD can significantly lower your risk. Stop by and talk with our staff of professionals at Family Guidance Center. We can help.