Mini-Strokes Linked To Higher Risk of Developing PTSD

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depressed-elderly-patient-nurse-ssPost-traumatic stress disorder is most associated with war and natural disasters, but a study published Oct. 2 online in the journal Stroke says mini-strokes may also be linked to a heightened risk for developing PTSD.

In the relatively small study, nearly a third of participants who suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), frequently called a “mini-stroke”, developed symptoms of PTSD including depression, anxiety, and reduced quality of life.

“At the moment, a TIA is seen by doctors as a fairly benign disorder,” said study co-author Kathrin Utz, a researcher in the department of neurology at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany.

While mini-strokes may not cause significant physical damage, they are clearly more dangerous than previously thought.

“We found one in three patients develop PTSD, which is perhaps better known as a problem found in survivors of war zones and natural disasters,” Utz said.

The researchers asked 108 volunteers with a median age of 70 to complete questionnaires three months after being treated for having a TIA. The findings also showed that 14 percent of respondents had notably reduced quality of life following a TIA, and 6.5 had reduced physical quality of life.

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