How PTSD Can Either Cause or Aggravate Diabetes

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February 06, 2019
Edward Smith

How PTSD Can Either Cause or Aggravate Diabetes 

A recently published study explored the association between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and diabetes. PTSD is a common and debilitating mental health disorder that commonly manifests after traumatic events, including car accidents. This study, published by the Journal of Academic Medicine (JAMA), analyzed the risk factors of diabetes and cross-referenced these with PTSD. The longitudinal study followed about 50,000 people throughout more than 20 years to determine if they developed either PTSD or diabetes. The study found that:

  • Individuals with PTSD were more than twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes than those who did not develop PTSD.
  • Those who had PTSD that was severe enough to require medication were even more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
  • Individuals who had PTSD and were either overweight or obese were also more likely to develop type 2 diabetes.
The results of this study show that people with PTSD are at an increased risk of developing or aggravating type 2 diabetes.

How Does Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Develop?

Those involved in a traumatic event are at risk of developing a post-traumatic stress disorder. If people are exposed to a particularly jarring event, such as a severe accident, war, or abuse, their mind has trouble processing what has happened. Their levels of epinephrine, also called adrenaline, start to rise. The body then associates these elevated levels of adrenaline with the event. As a result, whenever people are in a frightening situation, and their adrenaline levels start to rise again, they can develop flashbacks and memories associated with the event. It is these flashbacks that cause mental health issues related to post-traumatic stress disorder.

Watch YouTube Video: PTSD Warning Signs. The video below provides a closer look at some of the warnings signs of PTSD.

Why Does PTSD Cause or Aggravate Diabetes?

If people are involved in a traumatic accident, their body starts to mobilize its glucose stores to meet the perceived threat. The body requires glucose for energy, and this is termed the “fight or flight” response. Those who have been diagnosed with PTSD may experience frequent flashbacks and cause this stress response to happen more often. As a result, their blood glucose levels remain high consistently. The complications related to this include:

  • Developing Diabetes: For those who don’t have diabetes, consistently high levels of blood glucose can lead to its development.
  • Aggravating Diabetes: Those who already have diabetes and start to have higher blood glucose levels are prone to developing complications.

As a result, it is important for everyone who has been diagnosed with PTSD to be watchful for diabetes and its complications.

What are the Complications of Diabetes?

Numerous complications could arise when someone has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. One of the side effects of uncontrolled high glucose levels is nerve damage. This nerve damage can occur in multiple places throughout the body. A few of the many examples of complications related to diabetes include:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Nerve damage in the eyes.
  • Diabetic Nephropathy: Damage to the kidneys.
  • Peripheral Neuropathy: Damage to the nerves of the extremities.

If individuals are unable to feel their extremities, this can lead to the development of pressure ulcers. If these ulcers are severe, it could even lead to an amputation.

Contacting an Injury Attorney

If a loved one has been diagnosed with PTSD and subsequently develops diabetes, this can be a confusing time for families. They might not fully understand how either of these disorders developed and could have questions about the future. In these situations, it is helpful to take a few minutes to meet with a Personal Injury Attorney in Sacramento. Speaking with an Injury Lawyer can be beneficial for families through:

  • Taking a look at the records from the auto accident to ensure that the details are considered appropriately.
  • Assisting families in pursuing damages related to their medical injuries, their emotional distress, and their suffering.
  • Taking the case to court, if this is needed.

Families should never feel like they need to face these challenges alone. Help is available. Take a moment to meet with a Sacramento personal injury attorney today. You could be deserving of a financial reward.

Sacramento Personal Injury Attorneys

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Personal Injury Attorney. Individuals with PTSD may be at an increased risk of developing diabetes. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a car accident, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free, friendly legal advice.

I am pleased to be a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

I’m also proud to be a member of the National Association of Distinguished Counsel.

Our verdicts or settlements are available for viewing on our website.

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How PTSD can Either Cause or Aggravate Diabetes:

Image Attribution: The photo at the start of this article is seen in its original form on Pixabay. The image has been reproduced here with permission/ How PTSD can Either Cause or Aggravate Diabetes.

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