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Police trauma and cardiovascular disease: association between PTSD symptoms and metabolic syndrome.

Violanti-JM; Hartley-TA; Charles-LE; Fekedulegn-D; Andrew-ME; Mnatsakanova-A
Int J Emerg Mental Health 2006 Oct-Dec; 8(4):227-238
Although prior evidence exists concerning the association between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and cardiovascular disease, few studies have examined associations of PTSD symptomatology and the metabolic syndrome in the high stress occupation of police work. The metabolic syndrome is a clustering of cardiovascular disease risk factors that have also been independently associated with psychological conditions. The aim of this study was to examine associations between the PTSD symptoms and metabolic syndrome in police officers. A stratified sample of 115 police officers was randomly selected from the Buffalo, NY Police Department. PTSD symptoms were measured with the Impact of Event scale (IES), divided into categories of subclinical, mild, moderate and severe symptom levels. The metabolic syndrome was considered present if three or more of its component parameters (obesity, elevated blood pressure, reduced high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, elevated triglycerides, and abnormal glucose levels) were present in each officer. Results indicated a significantly increased prevalence of the metabolic syndrome among those officers in the severe PTSD symptom category compared with the lowest PTSD severity category (prevalence ratio (PR) = 3.31, 95% C.1. = 1.19 - 9.22). Adjustment for age did not alter the association appreciably (PR = 3.12, 95% CI. = 1.15 - 8.50). Adjustment for several demographic and lifestyle factors (age, education, smoking, alcohol intake) reduced the magnitude of the prevalence ratio slightly for the severe versus subclinical PTSD category (PR = 2.69, 95% C/. = 0.79 - 9.13), with adjustment for age and education accounting for most of the attenuation (PR = 2.71, 95% C/. = 0.99-7.37). Thus, officers with severe PTSD symptoms were approximately three times more likely to have the metabolic syndrome and education may account for some of this association.
Police-officers; Occupational-diseases; Occupational-health; Occupational-hazards; Cardiovascular-system-disease; Cardiovascular-disease; Diseases; Metabolic-study; Metabolic-disorders; Risk-factors; Risk-analysis; Author Keywords: police; posttraumatic stress disorder; metabolic syndrome; cardiovascular disease
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Journal Article
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International Journal of Emergency Mental Health
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University of New York at Buffalo
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division