PTS has been known to increase the risk of heart disease and stroke in older adults — but, according to a recent study, that risk extends beyond older adults into middle-aged and even young adults.
A nationwide study published in Stroke, a journal of the American Stroke Association, that included 1.1 million veterans showed that PTS may be a "potent risk" for stroke at a young age.
Those veterans were all enrolled in healthcare services provided by the Veterans Health Administration — mostly males between the ages of 18 and 60 with an average age of 30. They had all recently served in Iraq and Afghanistan and none had previously experienced a stroke.
Researchers followed these veterans for 13 years. Within that time period, 1,877 of the veterans had a stroke. That means that veterans with PTS were 62% more likely to have a stroke — raising the risk more than other lifestyle factors like obesity and smoking.
PTS affects roughly 8 million American adults — and 30 percent of veterans.
“We need to improve stroke prevention in young adults by developing targeted screening programs and age-appropriate interventions," said Lindsey Rosman lead author of the study. "Addressing mental health issues including PTSD may be an important part of a broader public health initiative to reduce the growing burden of stroke in young people."