Posttraumatic stress disorder, cardiovascular, and metabolic disease: a review of the evidence

Ann Behav Med. 2010 Feb;39(1):61-78. doi: 10.1007/s12160-010-9165-9.


Background: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant risk factor for cardiovascular and metabolic disease.

Purpose: The purpose of the current review is to evaluate the evidence suggesting that PTSD increases cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, and to identify possible biomarkers and psychosocial characteristics and behavioral variables that are associated with these outcomes.

Methods: A systematic literature search in the period of 2002-2009 for PTSD, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease was conducted.

Results: The literature search yielded 78 studies on PTSD and cardiovascular/metabolic disease and biomarkers.

Conclusions: Although the available literature suggests an association of PTSD with cardiovascular disease and biomarkers, further research must consider potential confounds, incorporate longitudinal designs, and conduct careful PTSD assessments in diverse samples to address gaps in the research literature. Research on metabolic disease and biomarkers suggests an association with PTSD, but has not progressed as far as the cardiovascular research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / psychology*
  • Depression / complications
  • Depression / epidemiology
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Hostility*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases / epidemiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / etiology
  • Metabolic Diseases / psychology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / psychology*


  • Biomarkers