BOSTON, MA – Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) isn't limited to
soldiers or witnesses of a horrifying event. It can also appear after a
heart attack, a stroke, or heart surgery. Not only does PTSD cause
emotional and psychological distress, it may also slow recovery and
hasten the progression of heart disease, reports the August issue of
the Harvard Heart Letter.
special problem of heart-related PTSD is that the trauma comes from
within. Sufferers are constantly on the alert for signs of an impending
heart attack, such as a racing heart or shortness of breath. The
trouble is, these are also normal responses to physical activity or
stress. Some people with heart-related PTSD go to great lengths to
avoid these reminders—they stop climbing stairs, making love, or doing
other activities that make the heart beat faster. Some stop taking
medications that remind them of the heart attack.
Four questions can help identify PTSD:
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