A recent study was under taken to investigate a possible relationship between PTSD and ischemia. When patients with myocardial ischemia were studied the results showed that this disease of the heart was about twice as likely to be found in patients with PTSD when compared to patients without Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The findings suggest that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD has been linked to an increase in risk for ischemic heart disease.
According to the study, one exercise treadmill tests done on patients posttraumatic stress disorder was determined to be associated with ischemic changes. This was independent of other cardiac risk factors, other health behaviors and various psychosocial risk factors. This does suggest that additional mechanisms possibly linking PTSD and ischemia should be investigated.
The fact that patients suffering from PTSD have an increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been established, but there are very few studies that have had objective measures of CVD.
One study looked at the association between patients with PTSD and (objectively assessed) patients with CVD and other possible underlying mechanisms that may cause this a study was done from 2008 – 2010. Researchers signed up 744 outpatients of two different Veterans Affairs Medical Centers to participate in the study. To establish the existence of PTSD in patients they used the Clinician Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS); to identify myocardial ischemia they used standard treadmill tests on the patients.
There were 663 patients with complete data. Out of those 230 had PTSD (mean CAPS score = 66.2). The mean age of participants was 58 years old, 6% were female and the predominant race was identified as Caucasian (59%). Of the 233 patients with PTSD (P=.006) 40 had myocardial ischemia (17%) and of the 433 patients without PTSD, 43 (10%) had myocardial ischemia.
Results showed that the association between PTSD and ischemia was significant. The adjusted odds ratio was 2.42; 95% confidence interval, 1.39 – 4.22.
Using past-month PTSD symptom score they discovered that patients who had more extreme symptoms were also had a significantly higher likelihood of having myocardial ischemia.
The researchers point out that of all the investigations into this association this is the first time that exercise treadmill testing was used to evaluate Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and its association with CVD. The results provide validation of the increased risk of CVD among patients with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Exactly how PTSD might be causing CVD is unknown at present, but it has been suspected that prolonged emotional arousal may have negative effects on the heart. These findings suggest that if the symptoms of PTSD can be reduced in severity then the possibility exists that clinicians may be able to help reduce the risk of patients developing cardiovascular disease. That is, effective treatment may reduce both PTSD and ischemia or related symptoms.
Because our treatment for depression and anxiety programs rely on evidence based practices, our Intensive Outpatient Program shares many common methods with other successful treatment for PTSD. The foundation of our treatment program for relies on the principles of the stages of change, cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused treatment, skills training and identifying repetitive dysfunctional behavioral relationship patterns to promote recovery from depression and other mental health disorders. In fact, our Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of these disorders in seven peer reviewed treatment outcome studies.
Our treatment center provides services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting. It is also important to keep in mind that women and men often experience PTSD differently and therefore the presence of PTSD may also appear differently based on gender. If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, including PTSD, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery. Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful. People who have completed our program have provide very high consumer satisfaction scores and reviews. Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.