Heart attack patients at risk of PTSD

A meta-analysis of 24 studies has revealed that people who have suffered a heart attack or another acute coronary health problem are significantly more likely to suffer from symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) than the general population.

Researchers at Columbia University Medical Centre have reported that having post traumatic stress disorder increases the individual’s risk of having subsequent health problems including being twice at risk of having another heart attack and dying within one to three years compared to people who do not meet the diagnosis for PTSD.

Each year approximately 1.4 million people in the United States of America experience an acute coronary syndrome which a condition in which there is a sudden restriction of blood flow to the heart.

PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder that results in some people who have been exposed to s traumatic event or experience. PTSD is most commonly experienced by people who have been exposed to warfare, national disasters and sexual assault. This latest study has found that of the 2,383 acute coronary syndrome patients from around the globe that were involved in the research, 12 percent of them showed symptoms of PTSD including, insomnia, panic attacks and emotional avoidance.

It is clear from this research that if PTSD goes undiagnosed in this clinical population, they are severely at risk of developing further complications and having a significantly reduced life expectancy.

Mindfulness Meditation has also been shown to help individuals after major life events like being diagnosed with a terminal illness as well as aiding the emotional recovery of someone who has suffered a stroke. It could therefore be a good means of addressing the emotional stress that results after coronary health concerns arise, both as a preventative to further complications and to reduce the chances of PTSD developing.

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