It was found that combat veterans suffer 10-year risk of heart disease and is more than 3% higher than the non-veterans. The results were presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) annual conference on Cardiovascular Disease, Epidemiology and Prevention, in Phoenix.
In the study nearly 5,000 men, including veterans who saw combat, veterans who didn't, and non-veterans who served as controls were studied since the 1980s.
Researchers checked and enquired about their blood pressure, smoking habits, cholesterol levels and other factors to predict their heart disease risk over the next ten years. The results showed that the mean predicted 10-year risk of heart disease risk was 10.2 % for the non-veterans, 11.5 % for the veterans not exposed to combat and 13.3 % for those exposed to combat.
Joseph Boscarino, a Vietnam veteran and senior investigator for the Giesinger Clinic in Danville, Pa., have researched combat exposure and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for 30 years. He said this new study adds to the growing literature that combat is related to heart disease.
But he added that combat by itself doesn't make a person more at risk for heart disease, it is whether you develop PTSD. It appears that PTSD is a good predictor of heart disease risk.