Trauma and PTSD: Emerging Risk Factors for CVD in Women?
Although prevalence estimates vary, national data indicate that approximately 50% of women in the United States will experience at least one form of extreme, or traumatic, stress at some point in their lives.1 Commonly reported traumas include, but are not limited to: sexual or physical assault, life-threatening accidents, fires or natural disasters, losing a close friend or family member to violence, witnessing a traumatic injury or death, and/or combat. Although the overall prevalence of exposure to trauma is somewhat lower among women compared to men, women are 2-to-3 times more likely to develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic event.1,2 Thus, despite its historical linkages to war-related traumas in male combat Veterans,3 PTSD is-- from a prevalence perspective-- largely a woman's disease.4 Yet, with few exceptions,5,6 much of the emerging research on trauma, PTSD and cardiovascular disease (CVD) has been conducted in predominantly male cohorts.7-10
- Received June 22, 2015.
- Accepted June 25, 2015.