Vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are twice as likely to have coronary heart disease as their unaffected siblings, according to a twin study funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
The chronic nervous system stimulation and hormonal perturbations associated with PTSD may have negative effects on cardiovascular health, and some studies have suggested an association. To help verify such a link, a team of researchers followed 281 pairs of twins from the Vietnam Era Twin Study in which one twin had PTSD and the other did not (Vaccarino V et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. doi:10.1016/j.jacc.2013.04.085 [published online June 26, 2013).
Kuehn BM. PTSD Doubles Heart Risk for Veterans. JAMA. 2013;310(8):787. doi:10.1001/jama.2013.276613