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Role of Obesity in Link Between PTSD and Diabetes

JAMA Psychiatry; ePub 2018 Aug 8; Scherrer, et al

Obesity moderated the association between posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), according to a recent study of patients who use the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) for healthcare. Furthermore, the incidence of T2DM in patients with PTSD who are not obese is similar to the national incidence rate in the US. These results suggest PTSD is not likely to have a causal association with incident T2DM. This cohort study used data from VHA medical records collected from patients with PTSD and without PTSD from 2008 to 2015. Researchers found:

  • Among 2,204 patients without PTSD, the mean (SD) age was 47.7 (14.3) years; 1,860 (84.4%) were men, 1,426 (64.7%) were white, and 956 (43.4%) were married.
  • Among 3,450 patients with PTSD, the mean (SD) age was 42.8 (14.2) years; 2,983 (86.5%) were men, 2,238 (64.9%) were white, and 1,525 (44.2%) were married.
  • The age-adjusted association between PTSD and incident T2DM was significant and after adding obesity to the model, this association was reduced and no longer significant.
  • Results of the full model, which included additional covariate adjustment, revealed no association between PTSD and incident T2DM.

Scherrer JF, Salas J, Lustman PJ, et al. The role of obesity in the association between posttraumatic stress disorder and incident diabetes. [Published online ahead of print August 8, 2018]. JAMA Psychiatry. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2018.2028.

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