PTSD linked to premature aging
Researchers from the University of California San Diego have found that people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are more likely to age prematurely.
The team used 64 studies dating as far back as the year 2000, all related to PTSD and aging. hey hoped to analyze how the condition affected health--from genetic biomarkers to age-related conditions and mortality.
They found that people with PTSD tend to have shorter telomeres, which are the caps at the end of our DNA. These are easy age markers, since they get shorter as we age, due to repeated DNA replication. But along with shorter telomere length, researchers found those with PTSD also displayed higher pro-inflammatory markers, also associated with aging. Additionally, those with PTSD displayed higher instances of type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia - all age-related conditions. Lastly, the study suggests a “mild to moderate” link between mortality and PTSD, which researchers say could be an effect of “accelerated aging.”
PTSD is often associated with vivid and intense nightmares, flashbacks of the event or experience, avoidance, as well as nervousness and tension. The condition has also been related to substance abuse as well as other conditions, such as insomnia and depression. Researchers urge that these results, while not conclusive, are enough say that PTSD should be classified as more than just a mental illness. The study was published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.