A recent study has found a link between PTSD and early death. The study, which was published in the February issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, found that Vietnam era veterans were more than twice as likely to die by the year 2000. Joseph A. Boscarino, Ph.D., M.P.H., noted that the death rate probably stemmed from multiple risk factors associated with PTSD, factors which may interact negatively. For instance, vets with PSTD were also found to have systemic inflammation, were often drug abusers, and partook in other risky behaviors. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:
Posttraumatic stress disorder is a risk factor for early death, a study of Vietnam-era veterans showed.
Veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder in the mid-1980s were more than twice as likely to die by 2000 as those who did not have a PTSD diagnosis, reported Joseph A. Boscarino, Ph.D., M.P.H., of Geisinger Health System here, in the February issue of the Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease.
Dr. Boscarino found a hazard ratio for all-disease death in Vietnam-era veterans of 2.1 (95% CI 1.4 to 3.1, P<0.001) after adjusting for other risk factors, including markers of chronic inflammation and stress, as well as smoking, obesity, age, race, intelligence, Army intake status, alcohol abuse, depression, and antisocial personality disorder.
High erythrocyte sedimentation rate, white blood cell count, and cortisol:dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate ratio were also significant and independent predictors of early all-disease death, Dr. Boscarino reported.
“Although PTSD is a predictor of future disease mortality, there are other common biologic factors operative among trauma-exposed populations,” he wrote.