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PTSD May Raise Risk of Heart Disease

Researchers Link Posttraumatic Stress Disorder to Calcium Buildup in Arteries

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.

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