Health Issues Among Veterans: What Do They Face Every Day?

November 13, 2018   /   byHealthier Societies  / Categories :  Health
War veteran paying respect to the flag

About 50% of veterans in the U.S. live in 10 states, and one of them is Virginia. By 2037, their population will decrease from 20 million to 13.6 million. But the Mother of States will climb from eighth place to fifth place during the same period.

The growing number of older veterans in Virginia creates a unique healthcare challenge. They may have conditions that may become prevalent among them. These diseases may also be less common than the ones experienced by the general population.

The Most Common Conditions Among Senior Veterans

Unlike most citizens, veterans used to be in some of the harshest environments. While they may no longer be in battle, their exposure can trigger conditions later on. Some of them may be severe enough to need senior home health care services in Charlottesville. These include the following:

Chronic Lung Disease

Military veterans are more likely to develop chronic lung disease for a variety of reasons. One of these is tobacco use. About 30% of them smoke, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). It then increases the chances of developing emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Some reports, though, revealed over 3 million who served in Afghanistan and Iraq complained of difficulty in breathing. Lung biopsies showed injuries and inflammation in the tissues due to the presence of particulate matter. These particles can be small enough to pass the airways and settle in the lungs. The possible sources can include sand, dust, and debris from explosions.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Veterans are also prone to different mental health issues that can be long-term. One of these is post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It may stem from seeing death on a regular basis or receiving threats in their lives during the war. Some men and women may develop PTSD due to sexual assault.

The percentage of people with PTSD differs. For instance, at least 12% of the veterans in the Gulf War had the mental condition compared to 15% of those who served in the Vietnam War. But about 30% of Vietnam War vets diagnosed with PTSD can suffer from it throughout their lifetime.

Due to the nature of their common conditions, veterans need professionals with a unique skill set and programs that specifically address them.

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