Women’s trauma linked to stroke, heart attack
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.