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Cardiology. 2014;127(1):1-19. doi: 10.1159/000354910. Epub 2013 Oct 24.

Posttraumatic stress disorder and cardiometabolic disease.

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ABLE Medical Consulting, Pittsburgh, Pa., USA.


The need for addressing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among combat veterans returning from Afghanistan and Iraq is a growing public health concern. Current PTSD management addresses psychiatric parameters of this condition. However, PTSD is not simply a psychiatric disorder. Traumatic stress increases the risk for inflammation-related somatic diseases and early mortality. The metabolic syndrome reflects the increased health risk associated with combat stress and PTSD. Obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular disease are prevalent among PTSD patients. However, there has been little appreciation for the need to address these somatic PTSD comorbidities. Medical professionals treating this vulnerable population should screen patients for cardiometabolic risk factors and avail themselves of existing preventive diet, exercise, and pharmacologic modalities that will reduce such risk factors and improve overall long-term health outcomes and quality of life. There is the promise that cardiometabolic preventive therapy complementing psychiatric intervention may, in turn, help improve the posttraumatic stress system dysregulation and favorably impact psychiatric and neurologic function. © 2013 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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