Hypertension Scientific Sessions

Hypertension Scientific Sessions

Source:

Gaffey AE, et al. Presentation 08B. Presented at: American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions; Sept. 27-29, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Gaffey reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
October 08, 2021
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BP risk elevated among veterans who experienced sexual trauma during service

Source:

Gaffey AE, et al. Presentation 08B. Presented at: American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions; Sept. 27-29, 2021 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Gaffey reports no relevant financial disclosures. Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.
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Veterans who experienced military sexual trauma had elevated hypertension risk, according to results presented at the American Heart Association’s Hypertension Scientific Sessions.

“We sought to determine if exposure to military sexual trauma is independently associated with risk for high blood pressure among post-9/11 veterans, those who served during operations Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom or New Dawn,” Allison E. Gaffey, PhD, research associate in the department of internal medicine section of cardiovascular medicine at Yale School of Medicine and research psychologist in women’s health and cardiovascular medicine at the VA Connecticut Healthcare System of the Department of Veterans Affairs, said in a press release.

Various Veterans and Health Care Images
Source: Adobe Stock

Using nationwide data from the Veterans Health Administration from 2001 to 2017, the researchers prospectively analyzed 1,177,944 veterans (mean age, 30 years; 12% women) who were discharged from the U.S. military since October 2001. Incident hypertension risk was defined as having a medical record diagnosis, having a systolic BP of 130 mm Hg or more or using an antihypertensive medication.

After a mean of 9.6 years follow-up, 33,881 veterans (65% women) screened as positive for having experienced military sexual trauma and 307,332 veterans were diagnosed with hypertension. In the cohort, the overall hypertension incidence rate was 305.1 events per 1,000-person years.

In unadjusted models, military sexual trauma conferred a 30% elevated risk for hypertension (HR = 1.3; 95% CI, 1.28-1.33). Military sexual trauma remained significantly associated with hypertension even when adjusted for demographics, lifestyle factors, CVD comorbidities, PTSD, anxiety and depression (adjusted HR = 1.1; 95% CI, 1.08-1.12). Sensitivity analyses also demonstrated a significant association between military sexual trauma and increased risk for hypertension when controlling for health care utilization (HR = 1.11; 95% CI, 1.09-1.13).

In addition, researchers observed a slightly stronger link between military sexual trauma and hypertension risk among women compared with men (10% vs. 4%).

According to Gaffey, these results require more research to determine whether early identification of military sexual trauma can improve CVD risk management.

“These findings show that even many years after being discharged from military service, exposure to military sexual trauma can continue to significantly influence veterans’ physical health,” Gaffey said in the release. “This association demonstrates the importance of screening and disclosure of military sexual trauma or other traumatic stress in order to receive appropriate care, support and resources to manage the short- and long-term mental and physical health impact.”