Dangers of untreated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, based on my opinion from personal experience.
We proudly serve our Country without hesitation, without question. Once we are discharged our service as a warrior ends, and our battle to fit in with a life that lacks understanding of what our service may have cost us as individuals begins. A percentage of our Veterans are affected by PTSD, and it may not start to show up for a couple of years.
Once the damage of many years of untreated PTSD show up, the condition becomes irreversible. One of the most noticeable problems is the damage done to the heart.
Below is a snippet of a report found on the Internet about the effect of chronic stress on our heart
"Over time, the physiological reactions to stress can take a toll on your cardiovascular system:
Due to an increased heart rate, it's possible that your heart could take on an abnormal heart rhythm or you could have problems with the heart muscle itself.
Due to the increase in blood pressure, your cardiovascular system can have all of the usual associated problems with hypertension including increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
Due to the increase in cholesterol and triglycerides in your bloodstream, there is potential for your arteries to thicken with plaque over time, which could lead to coronary artery disease or heart attack.
The deposit of fat in the abdomen, leading to an ďappleĒ shape, is a marker of metabolic syndrome and is considered a risk factor for heart disease.
The bottom line
Regardless of whether stress is enough to cause heart disease on its own or it impacts other factors that lead to heart trouble, itís known that chronic stress negatively affects your health. Finding healthy ways to manage stress is vital to your future, because we all know that stress isnít going away anytime soon (unfortunately).
SOURCES: Web MD, Human Physiology (McGraw-Hill, 7th edition), The American Institute of Stress, Mayo Clinic, eHealth MD, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, American Heart Association, Yale Medical School."
During my research I spoke with Dr. Laura D. Kubzansky, Department of Society, Human Development, and Health Harvard School of Public Health. She has published papers that have been referenced on the connection of PTSD on Veterans heart. She kindly sent me research showing the clear connection. Her research has been helpful, to me, in understanding the effect of PTSD and my heart condition.
Here is part of the conclusion from Harvard research that states:
"These data suggest that prolonged stress and significant levels of PTSD symptoms may increase the risk for CHD in older male veterans," they conclude. "These results are provocative and suggest that exposure to trauma and prolonged stress not only may increase the risk for serious mental health problems but are also cardiotoxic."
I have been very fortunate to have been given the best health care I could get anywhere from my local VA Hospital,. My doctor is focused on making my heart perform the best it can for what I want to enjoy in life, and that is my family and golf. He and his team have done an excellent job. Given a choice between health care and money I vote for the health care anytime.
I publish my experience only to help other Veterans that have served as this Countries Warriors. This can be headed off by early detection of PTSD, and treated before its' effects becomes irreversible.
As a side note, Veterans offspring may explain to their doctor that their father or mother had heart disease, thinking this information may help, but it makes it more difficult because the doctor may think there may be a genetic condition when in fact the condition more likely may be a condition related to untreated PTSD.
Now march on!!