For women with severe PTSD, the study found a 60 percent higher risk of heart attack or stroke compared to women who hadn't experienced any trauma. The risk was increased 45 percent for women who experienced a traumatic event but didn't develop PTSD, the researchers added.
"Our study is the first to look at trauma exposure and PTSD symptoms and new cases of cardiovascular disease in a general population sample of women," said lead researcher Jennifer Sumner, an epidemiologist at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
It's important to note, however, that while this study found an association between trauma and a higher risk of stroke and heart attack, it wasn't designed to prove a cause-and-effect relationship. It's possible that other factors may explain the increased risk.