Exploring the Link Between Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and inflammation-Related Medical Conditions: An Epidemiological Examination

Psychiatr Q. 2017 Dec;88(4):909-916. doi: 10.1007/s11126-017-9508-9.


There have been few epidemiological studies exploring the link between PTSD and inflammation using population-based samples. This study examined the relation between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and inflammation-related medical conditions using data from the 2013-2014 New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Using a representative sample of 1,527 residents in New York City, the association between PTSD and 17 inflammation-related medical conditions were examined. Bivariate and multivariable analyses were conducted, adjusting for demographic characteristics and lifetime depression. PTSD was strongly associated with increased odds for hypercholesterolemia, insulin resistance, angina, heart attack, and emphysema with the greatest odds observed for heart attack (OR= 3.94) and emphysema (OR= 4.06). But PTSD was also associated with lower odds for hypertension, type 1 diabetes, asthma, coronary heart disease, stroke, osteoporosis, and a failing kidney with the lowest odds observed for type 1 diabetes (OR= 0.43). These findings suggest a complex link between PTSD and inflammation-related medical conditions.

Keywords: Cardiovascular diseases; Inflammation; Posttraumatic stress disorder; Pulmonary diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology*
  • Inflammation / epidemiology*
  • Lung Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • New York City / epidemiology
  • Nutrition Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Young Adult