When you cry your heart out - Stress trauma leads to heart disease

  • By Team TDO

Stress is a part of life. But excessive stress leads to imbalance within the body. Inability to handle stress and worrying too much also affects your lifestyle.

PTSD - Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

A traumatic experience causes immense stress to the sufferer. It may lead to a condition called PTSD, which is the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a state of severe stress after trauma exposure. The trauma could be a natural calamity, war, death threat, assault, injury, or a combination of any of these. Women have a higher chance to develop PTSD than men. In this disorder, the patients go through a series of symptoms - flashbacks of the traumatic event, anxiety, fear, frightful dreams and insomnia. They may even need hospitalization.

Research in veterans

The effects of PTSD are not only limited to these mental and functional affections. A link between PTSD and physical affections has now been established, especially to coronary heart disease. A recent study was conducted by the Emory's Rollins School of Public Health, sponsored by the NIH, on this subject onVietnam veterans. The results show an alarming difference between veterans with PTSD and without. The risk of developing heart disease is twice as much in veterans with heart disease over a period of thirteen years.

Other factors

Not only heart disease but also weight gain can result from PTSD. PTSD ensures a series of stress bouts and anxiety attacks. These activate the release of a certain hormone which causes weight gain. And weight gain has already been conclusively shown to increase the risk of heart disease.

Besides the research, there are other factors related to PTSD which influence the lifestyle and may eventually lead to coronary heart disease. Continued stress does lead to high blood pressure and insulin resistance, which in turn also increase the risk for heart disease.

Stress is serious

Until this research, the stress theory of heart disease was not very convincing for many medical professionals. But these studies have caught attention of many and the stress link is now gaining great importance.


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