Traumatic events can affect health

Research indicates life-changing events raise risk of mortality in the year following a stressful event.

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February 17, 2020 - 9:35 AM

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Dr. Keith Roach

Dear Dr. Roach: I am a 63-year-old male with well-controlled coronary artery disease. I also have chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. Last June, I was in a horrific automobile accident where a person hit me head-on. It took an hour for responders to extract me from my car. I was in intensive care for eight days, suffering from multiple fractures and requiring several surgeries, with more to come. The day before my second surgery, my father passed away unexpectedly. Naturally, I temporarily postponed the surgery. Thirty-two days after my father’s passing, my mother passed away, also unexpectedly. During the wake for my mother, a well-wisher told me that due to the stress and trauma as well as my underlying medical conditions, my life will be shortened. I am having difficulty, but I am dealing with everything. I could find no information about this. Have you ever heard of this? — D.F.P.

Answer: I am sorry to hear about your difficulties and wish you a steady recovery.

It amazes me what even well-meaning people can say. This person’s intentions may have been good, but it was neither wise nor kind to say it.

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