FRIDAY, Sept. 24 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. soldiers with
post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) returning from the wars in
Iraq and Afghanistan suffer more physical ailments than those with
no mental health issues, and this effect is stronger in women than
men, a new study shows.
The findings suggest that veterans with PTSD need closer
integration of their physical and mental health care, said Dr.
Susan Frayne, of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford
The study appears online in the
Journal of General Internal Medicine.
The researchers analyzed data from more than 90,000 U.S.
veterans who used VA services and found that women with PTSD had a
median of seven physical ailments, compared with a median of 4.5
among those with no mental health issues. Lower spine disorders,
headache and leg-related joint disorders were the most common
Among men, those with PTSD had a median of five physical
ailments, compared with a median of four for those with no mental
health concerns. Lower spine disorders, leg-related joint
disorders, and hearing problems were the most common physical
"Health delivery systems serving our veterans with
post-traumatic stress disorder should align clinical services with
their medical care needs, especially for common diagnoses like
painful musculoskeletal conditions," Frayne said in a journal news
"Looking to the future, the impetus for early intervention is
evident. If we recognize the excess burden of medical illness in
veterans with PTSD who have recently returned from active service
and we address their health care needs today, the elderly veterans
of tomorrow may enjoy better health and quality of life," she
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about