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Behavioral health mediators of the link between posttraumatic stress disorder and dyslipidemia.

Dennis PA, Ulmer CS, Calhoun PS, Sherwood A, Watkins LL, Dennis MF, Beckham JC. Behavioral health mediators of the link between posttraumatic stress disorder and dyslipidemia. Journal of psychosomatic research. 2014 Jul 1; 77(1):45-50.

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OBJECTIVES: Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has been linked to dyslipidemia, which is a major risk factor for coronary artery disease. Although this link is thought to reflect response to heightened stress, behavioral health risks, including smoking, alcohol dependence, and poor sleep quality, may mediate the relationship between PTSD and dyslipidemia. METHODS: To test this hypothesis, serum lipid levels were collected from 220 young adults (18-39 years old), 103 of whom were diagnosed with PTSD. RESULTS: PTSD and associated depressive symptoms were negatively related to high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), p = .04, and positively related to triglyceride (TG) levels, p = .04. Both associations were mediated by cigarette consumption and poor sleep quality, the latter of which accounted for 83% and 93% of the effect of PTSD and depression on HDL-C and TG, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: These results complement recent findings highlighting the prominence of health behaviors in linking PTSD with cardiovascular risk.

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