Heart attacks lead to PTSD

Surviving a heart attack or stroke is just one battle in a much bigger war -- one where your life is on the line every single day, because you're now automatically at risk for a second heart attack or stroke down the road.

And in some cases, your risk could shoot up even higher because of something other than the physical damage left behind.

It's stress -- the extreme and lasting stress that marks post-traumatic stress disorder.

Nearly a quarter of heart attack and stroke survivors suffer PTSD within a year of the initial event, according to new research -- and for nearly 10 percent, the stress lingers for a year or more.

By itself, PTSD is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke even if you've never had any hint of a heart problem.

But if you're already fighting your way back from a heart attack or stroke, that same post-traumatic stress can double your risk of death within three years, according to the study of 1,138 stroke or heart attack survivors.

Clearly, it's not enough to simply take care of the immediate and obvious physical damage of a heart attack or stroke. You have to do more -- and that means a holistic approach that focuses on the mind as well as the body, since what happens to one clearly has a deep and lasting impact on the other.

And if you're suffering from the nightmares, fear, panic attacks as well as the racing heart and high blood pressure that often mark PTSD -- whether you've had a heart attack or stroke or not -- it's time to get a grip on the post-traumatic stress before it gets a grip on you.

There are a number of natural remedies that can help you to overcome post-traumatic stress, including acupuncture, homeopathic treatments and relaxing herbal medicines. I wish I could say it's as simple as "take this and be cured," but it's not, since the best remedies will vary based on your specific PTSD symptoms.

A skilled holistic doctor can help you sort it all out.

Finally, remember that PTSD is often marked by overwhelming feelings of fear -- and one of the best ways to counter that is with a power far greater than any fear: God.

Prayer is a proven stress-buster -- whether it's everyday stress, or the extreme and chronic stress that marks PTSD. It's safe, it's free and it's available anytime, anywhere.

Why not put that power to work for you?