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What Severe Combat Trauma Does to Your Heart

Combat TraumaAs Veteran’s Day has just passed, it is important to note the physical damage that combat trauma can do to your heart. Brookhaven Heart has patients that have seen and endured extensive combat trauma during their service. It is crucial that patients understand the impact this type of stress has on their health so they can properly address and treat it to prevent long-term problems.

PTSD Physical Symptoms

After a traumatic experience, like experiencing combat, many people experience post-traumatic stress. This can include anxiety, depression, a feeling of disconnection, feelings of danger, and overwhelming painful memories. If these symptoms do not fade, you may have post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. PTSD can have severe effects on your health if not treated. Some of these physical reactions to PTSD include:

  • Increased heart beat
  • Rapid breathing
  • Breathlessness
  • Sweating
  • High blood pressure
  • Muscle tension
  • These physical symptoms can wear on your heart, especially if you experience them for longer periods of time.

Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Disease

A study completed in 2011 showed that individuals suffering from PTSD were at an increased risk of coronary heart disease and possibly thromboembolic stroke. Due to the severe anxiety PTSD causes, both combat veterans and non-veterans showed increased risk of hypertension, hyperlipidemia, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

How to Lower Your Risk

In order to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease due to PTSD, you must treat the underlying condition. Seeking talk therapy as well as Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy has been shown to greatly decrease PTSD symptoms. You can also lower anxiety by participating in regular exercise, eating healthy, and get enough sleep. Making these choices can concurrently help lower your risk of heart disease.

For more information regarding heart health and decreasing your risk of cardiovascular disease, contact Brookhaven Heart at 631-654-3278. We are happy to assist you in being the healthiest you can be.