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PTSD may raise the risk of catching life-threatening infections

by Soon Gardin (2020-02-03)

Stressed people may be more likely to get killer infections because it weakens their immune system, scientists say.

A study of more than 1.7million people found twice as many PTSD patients suffered potentially deadly bugs than the general population.

Researchers also found patients with stress-related disorders, such as those immediately after bereavement or a car accident, for example, faced a similar heightened risk.  

Evidence suggests stress may raise susceptibility to infections due to inflammation or raging hormones dampening key immune cells.

PTSD patients may be more likely to catch life-threatening infections such as meningitis, a study is found. Soldiers have higher rates of the stress related disorder

PTSD is estimated to affect around one in every three people who have a traumatic experience, such as rape or vaksin haji a car crash.

Overall, the condition is estimated to affect up to ten per cent of people, according to charities.

Soldiers, police, fire brigade or ambulance workers face a greater risk because they often have to deal with horrifying scenes.    



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Share 80 shares University of Iceland researchers found a link between stress related disorders and risk of cardiovascular disease earlier this year.

But this is one of the first studies to draw data from a large group of people to assess the risk of life-threatening infections, published in the British Medical Journal.

Academics from the same university, as well as teams in the US, China and Sweden, used data from nearly 145,000 patients with PTSD or a stress-related disorder.

Stress-related disorders included acute stress reaction, which can occur immediately after a traumatic events and sometimes precedes PTSD.

Dr Huan Song and colleagues compared the participants with data taken from their unaffected siblings - a group of 180,000 people.