Jan. 9 (UPI) -- Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, could bring on cardiovascular disease and cancer, a new study says.
The longer a person has PTSD from any traumatic event, the higher their risk of developing cardiovascular disease, according to a study published Wednesday in Journal of Neuroscience Research. The study also reported that PTSD brought on by terrorist attacks was connected to a higher prevalence of cancer.
"An explanation of why victims of terrorism may have a higher cancer prevalence than victims of other traumatic events, such as accidents, may be the intentional infliction of harm on the victim causing a more dysregulated stress response," Andrea Pozza, a researcher at the Santa Maria alle Scotte University Hospital, said in a press release. "A challenge for the future is monitoring the physical health of victims over time and understanding psychological and neurobiological processes producing this effect."
In 2017, the National Institutes of Health estimated that 3.6 percent of adults in the United States had PTSD in the previous year.
A previous study also links PTSD to coronary heart disease in Vietnam veterans.
"Longer untreated PTSD was associated with higher prevalence of cardiovascular disease regardless of the event type: this suggests the importance of early intervention for PTSD and also education programs for the general population to make people aware about PTSD early warning signs and how to recognize them," Pozza said.