A recent study has concluded that veterans who have PTSD and the associated stress that this mental disorder causes may also have abnormal blood vessel function as well. The study suggests that the blood vessels of these individuals do not expand the way that they should, and this abnormal function can increase the risk of a stroke or heart attack. The researchers examined the usual risk factors for issues with normal blood vessel function and they determined that these usual factors did not account for the PTSD cases. This led researchers to suspect that the culprit in the PTSD cases was stress. Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and diabetes are not the cause of the abnormal function in patients who were suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Veterans Affairs Medical Center-Surgical Services and University of California, San Francisco surgery associate professor Dr. Marlene Grenon was the lead researcher on the study, and she explained”We believe that we should try to gain a better understanding of the relationship between mental illness and cardiovascular health. Stress management will be one of the main focuses of our program, along with other lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise. This could help not only people with PTSD but also people with all forms of chronic stress in their lives.” The study did find that there was a link between PTSD and abnormal blood vessel function but the study did not establish a cause and effect relationship for this link. The study included 214 participants who were all veterans, and 67 of these participants had been diagnosed with PTSD.