The study, “Clinically Meaningful PTSD Improvement and Risk for Type 2 Diabetes,” by Jeffrey Scherrer, Ph.D., professor in Family and Community Medicine at SLU, was published online  in JAMA Psychiatry. But “Some long-term chronic health conditions  associated with PTSD may be less likely to occur among patients who experience clinically meaningful symptom reduction either through treatment or spontaneous improvement,” Scherrer said. PTSD affects up to 12% of civilians and nearly 30% of the veteran population.

Risk for Type 2 Diabetes

Those with PTSD are at risk for other health issues and improvement in PTSD symptoms is associate with parallel improvements in depression, emotional well-being; sleep, blood pressure and general physical health. PTSD is associate with an increase risk of type 2 diabetes, which may be explain by the high prevalence of obesity; but glucose dysregulation; inflammation, metabolic syndrome and depression among those diagnosed with PTSD versus those without PTSD.

This retrospective cohort study reviewed Veterans Health Affairs medical record data from 2008 to 2015. The researchers randomly selected 5,916 cases from among a veteran patient population aged 18 to 70 who had more than two visits to PTSD specialty care between 2008 and 2012. The patients were followed through until 2015. Therefore After applying eligibility criteria; but 1,598 patients with PTSD and free of diabetes risk were available for analysis.

Large PTSD symptom

Clinically meaningful symptom reduction is a decrease of 20 points on the PTSD Checklist score. The research found the results were independent of numerous demographic, psychiatric and physical comorbidities. The sample was 84.3% male, 66% Caucasian and 22% African-American. The mean age of the patients was 42. The association was also independent of the number of PTSD psychotherapy sessions used.

“In patients with only PTSD; clinically meaningful PCL decrease is associate with lower risk for diabetes and in patients with PTSD and depression; we find improvement in PTSD is couple with a decrease in depression;” Scherrer says. “Thus decrease risk for type 2 diabetes appears to follow large PTSD symptom decrease and in patients with both PTSD and depression, improvement in both conditions may be necessary to reduce risk for type 2 diabetes.” Therefore “Surprisingly; clinically meaningful PTSD improvement is not associate with a change in BMI and A1C values.”

PTSD checklist scores

A prospective study is need to advance research, Scherrer says, due in part to the limitations of medical record data. Such a study determine if large decreases in PTSD checklist scores are associate with improved insulin resistance and reduce inflammation. Therefore Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce enough; or properly respond to, insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas. Insulin is need to turn sugar and other food into energy. Because In diabetes; the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use its own insulin as well as it should; or both. This causes sugar to accumulate in the blood, often leading to various complications.