Women’s trauma linked to stroke, heart at­tack

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS -

WOMEN who ex­pe­ri­ence trau­matic events or de­velop post- trau­matic stress dis­or­der ( PTSD) may have a great risk of fu­ture car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, ac­cord­ing to new re­search.

It is the first ma­jor study of the link be­tween trauma and heart at­tacks and strokes ex­clu­sively in women, with re­sults pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Heart As­so­ci­a­tion jour­nal Cir­cu­la­tion.

Re­searchers ex­am­ined about 50,000 par­tic­i­pants over 20 years, and found women with four or more PTSD symp­toms had 60 per cent higher rates of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease com­pared with women who weren’t ex­posed to trau­matic events.

Women with no symp­toms but who re­ported trau­matic events had 45 per cent higher rates of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease.

Al­most half of the as­so­ci­a­tion was linked to un­healthy be­hav­iours such as smok­ing, obe­sity, lack of ex­er­cise and med­i­cal fac­tors in­clud­ing high blood pres­sure.

PTSD can oc­cur af­ter trau­matic events such as a nat­u­ral dis­as­ter or an un­wanted sex­ual or phys­i­cal as­sault. Suf­fer­ers may ex­pe­ri­ence flash­backs, in­som­nia, fa­tigue, trou­ble remembering or con­cen­trat­ing, and emo­tional numb­ing. The con­di­tion is twice as com­mon in women as in men.

STUDY ALERT: Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing trauma can heighten heart risks.

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