Cardiovascular Disease

Studies have shown that military veterans have a substantially increased risk for cardiovascular diseases.

Research is underway to evaluate and develop new treatments, identify genetic and lifestyle causes, and develop new rehabilitation methods (especially for veterans who have suffered a stroke).

Did you know that veterans with PTSD are more than twice as likely to have heart disease? Studies are also showing that agent orange is linked to heart disease and diabetes.

Examples of Research Advances

  • Heart attack on a chip - Researchers are testing a disposable microchip that can diagnose a heart attack in minutes. The chip senses molecules in saliva that are markers for a heart attack. Heart attacks currently are diagnosed with blood tests, which can take hours to complete, and echocardiograms, which miss the diagnosis in about a third of patients.
  • Better preventive therapy - Gastrointestinal complications such as ulcers and internal bleeding are serious side effects of the anti-clotting drugs taken to prevent heart attack and stroke. Researchers and others found that patients taking anti-clotting drugs who also took a drug for ulcer relief were less likely to have these complications.
  • Modeling impact of salt reduction - Reducing American’s sodium intake by about 10 percent would prevent more than one million strokes and heart attacks and reduce the nation’s medical costs by more than $32 billion, according to a model by VA researchers.