PTSD affects the body as much as the mind. In a sense, trauma survivors' nervous systems and bodily functions become totally rewired after trauma. Unfortunately, the damaging physical effects of PTSD are not widely understood by the public, and little attention is paid to the great need for physical health maintenance of trauma survivors. As Bessel A. van der Kolk said, "Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past." Physical self-care plans are essential for trauma recovery.
PTSD may increase heart attack, stroke risk in women
By Carina Storrs, Special to CNN
Updated 10:32 AM ET, Tue June 30, 2015
Excerpt: "Researchers looked at nearly 55,000 women in the Nurses' Health Study II, a long-term study of young women that began in 1989. In 2008, the researchers asked the women to fill out surveys about traumatic events they had experienced in the last 20 years, including physical assault or a natural disaster as well as whether they had PTSD symptoms such as recurring thoughts about the event."
"The researchers found that women who were exposed to a trauma and had at least four PTSD symptoms were 60% more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than women who reported having no trauma."
"The current study found that even women who experienced a trauma, but did not report having any PTSD symptoms, were at 45% higher risk of heart attack and stroke than their trauma-free peers."