Original Article

Annals of Behavioral Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 61-78

First online:

Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Cardiovascular, and Metabolic Disease: A Review of the Evidence

  • Eric A. DedertAffiliated withVA Research Service, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Durham Veterans Affairs and Duke University Medical Centers Email author 
  • , Patrick S. CalhounAffiliated withVA Research Service/VISN 6 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Durham Veterans Affairs and Duke University Medical Centers
  • , Lana L. WatkinsAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center
  • , Andrew SherwoodAffiliated withDepartment of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center
  • , Jean C. BeckhamAffiliated withVA Research Service/VISN 6 Mental Illness Research, Education and Clinical Center, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Durham Veterans Affairs and Duke University Medical Centers

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Abstract

Background

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Purpose

The purpose of the current review is to evaluate the evidence suggesting that PTSD increases cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, and to identify possible biomarkers and psychosocial characteristics and behavioral variables that are associated with these outcomes.

Methods

A systematic literature search in the period of 2002–2009 for PTSD, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease was conducted.

Results

The literature search yielded 78 studies on PTSD and cardiovascular/metabolic disease and biomarkers.

Conclusions

Although the available literature suggests an association of PTSD with cardiovascular disease and biomarkers, further research must consider potential confounds, incorporate longitudinal designs, and conduct careful PTSD assessments in diverse samples to address gaps in the research literature. Research on metabolic disease and biomarkers suggests an association with PTSD, but has not progressed as far as the cardiovascular research.

Keywords

PTSD Biomarkers Cardiovascular Metabolic Hostility