Study: Military service members with PTSD may be at risk of developing diabetes

NEW YORK Military service members that experience post-traumatic stress disorder are at risk of developing diabetes, according to a study published in the May 18 edition of Diabetes Care.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that may develop in those exposed to frightening events. People that suffer from PTSD may experience such issues as exhibiting violent behavior, insomnia or lack of emotion.

In the journal Diabetes Care, lead author Edward Boyko and colleagues examined more than 44,754 service members who did not have diabetes when they initially were enrolled in the Dept. of Defense's Millennium Cohort Study. Three years later, 376 study participants, reported they had been newly diagnosed with diabetes. The researchers factored out age, gender, body weight, race, and other variables that might increase the risk of diabetes (as well as military service characteristics and other mental health conditions), only PTSD symptoms remained associated with an increased risk of diabetes. The risk of diabetes was more than twofold higher in the presence of PTSD symptoms.

The findings, however, don't explain why there may be a link between PTSD and diabetes, the researchers said. Boyko and colleagues also noted that their study had several limitations, including self-reported conditions by the participants, rather than medically confirmed ones.