Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Depression Health Center

Font Size

PTSD May Raise Risk of Heart Disease

Researchers Link Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to Calcium Buildup in Arteries

PTSD and Risk of Death

In the study, veterans with PTSD were also more likely to die from any cause than those without the disorder.

During an average follow-up of almost 10 years, 13% of the vets died. Vets with PTSD made up just over 10% of the entire group of veterans, but nearly 10% of those who died.

After taking into account risk factors for heart disease, veterans with PTSD had nearly two and one-half times the risk of death, compared with veterans without PTSD.

Among the veterans with a calcium buildup in their arteries, those with PTSD had a 48% increased risk of death from any cause and a 41% increased risk of dying from a cardiovascular disease, compared with those without the disorder.

Questions Linger About PTSD and Atherosclerosis

Former AHA President Robert Eckel, MD, professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, Denver, says the study leaves open a number of questions, most notably how PTSD might be linked to atherosclerosis.

"Is the increase in calcium due to high blood pressure, high glucose, inflammation, insulin resistance?" he asks.

Also, "chart reviews" such as this don't have enough information about patients' diets, smoking status, and exercise habits -- all factors that affect heart disease risks, Eckel tells WebMD.

"I'm not saying PTSD is not real and that it doesn't have health consequences. But much more study is needed," he says.

This study was presented at a medical conference. The findings should be considered preliminary as they have not yet undergone the "peer review" process, in which outside experts scrutinize the data prior to publication in a medical journal.

1 | 2

Today on WebMD

Differences between feeling depressed and feeling blue.
jk rowling
Famous people who've struggled with persistent sadness.
depressed man sitting on hallway floor
Learn the truth about this serious illness.
Sad woman looking out of the window
Tips to stay the treatment course.
unhappy teen boy
Health Check
jk rowling
Pills with smiley faces
Teen girl huddled outside house
Depressed man sitting in hospital hallway
antidepressants slideshow
pill bottle
Winding path