The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder on the mind are well documented, but a new study now shows that women who experience PTSD also have a 60 percent greater risk of heart attack and strokes. In a long-term study of nearly 55,000 women that began in 1989, researchers found that women who were exposed to a trauma and had at least four PTSD symptoms were 60 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke than women who reported having no trauma. “This study raises awareness that the effects of PTSD don’t just stop in the head and that they have more holistic consequences for health,” said the lead author of the study, Jennifer A. Sumner, a clinical psychologist at Columbia University. “Our hope is that providers and patients (with PTSD) can be aware of this link and monitor cardiovascular health and try to engage in prevention efforts.”
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