Wars are horrible; no matter who wins, there is a massive loss of lives. Although military persons are physically and mentally fit, they might come across specific injuries or experiences that can significantly affect their mental and physical wellbeing during and after their military services.
Soldiers have a remarkable sense of duty, and they love what they do for their country. From fighting on the battlefields to leading undercover operations, these brave heroes never take a break until they retire from their services. A soldier on the battlefield goes through a lot until they serve their purpose. From land mine explosions to missiles, their lives are always in danger. Many of them ignore their health and put their duty first.
However, when a military official is no longer serving, they are known as veterans. Besides stepping away from battlegrounds, the major problems that they face are related to their physical and mental wellbeing. Most military personnel and veterans face unique risks of suffering through mental health issues during and after their services. These issues are similar to those suffered by the general population. In other cases, they experience problems such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, musculoskeletal conditions, etc., which further deteriorates their health. Most veterans also develop mesothelioma – a form of lung cancer developed due to veterans’ exposure to asbestos during their services.
In the US, veterans are rightly compensated in various ways to get the VA benefits and find the right treatment options. They can either book an appointment on a website for veterans or meet the health experts in person to get timely treatment or get assistance during their physical and mental sufferings.
The following are some of the most common health issues a veteran has to face.
Cancer in veterans accounts for 3% of all the cancer cases in the United States. Soldiers face great exposure to carcinogens arising from the IED explosion. Poisonous gases and other toxic materials released at the bombing sites pose an immediate threat to their health. Soldiers spending most of their time in war zones contact different hazardous chemicals leading to health complications. Chemicals like asbestos, nerve gas, chemical weapons, and radiations contribute to cancer development.
2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Soldiers and other military personnel fulfill their duty towards their homeland and face several challenges that are beyond our imaginations. Their training prevents them from expressing their emotions, which ultimately takes a toll on their mental health. PTSD is one of the significant and common mental health issues in veterans. The PTSD ratio accounts for 30.9% in men 26.9% in women. Losing colleagues on the battlefield or near-death experiences can recur in the form of nightmares keeping these people awake and stressed for a longer duration.
3. Hearing loss and impairment
Battlefields and warzones are always echoing with the loud and bone-shaking noise of the explosion. These extreme noises can leave a person deaf for a short time. Some may even experience a complete loss of hearing. Soldiers in the nearest proximity of explosion or bombing are more prone to hear a higher frequency sound, which ultimately damages their eardrums. In severe cases, it can affect the ear canal. A veteran often visits VA clinics complaining about a constant ticking or ringing sound in their ear or hearing impairment.
4. Traumatic brain injury
It is another major yet common health issue among veterans. It occurs due to a blow or jolt to the head disrupting brain function. It’s more common in soldiers who have fought in war zones like Iran or Afghanistan. Blast exposure and other combat-related activities lead to higher chances of traumatic brain injury in veterans. A veteran may visit their clinic complaining about short attention spans, inability to process information, or language difficulties. Other symptoms may include fatigue or drowsiness, headaches, memory issues, mood swings, etc. According to the statistics reported by the US Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), approximately 185,000 or above veterans have been diagnosed with at least one brain injury.
Although military personnel gets their routine vaccination shots, they are still prone to bacterial infections. Veterans suffer from certain infectious diseases that a civilian may not know about, and there may be no vaccine for it. Bacterial and parasitic infections like brucellosis can persist for years, Campylobacter jejuni causing abdominal pain, and Coxiella Burnetti leading to heart inflammation in severe cases. Veterans who have fought in the Middle Eastern region are prone to Leishmaniasis caused by parasitic sand flies leading to anemia, fever, chronic pain, and spleen enlargement.
Wounds of war can go far beyond the naked eye. From long persistent mental health issues to permanent disabilities, a veteran has a constellation of ailments waiting for them. The health concerns and diseases are unique to their services and are more common in veterans than civilians. Providing round-the-clock and affordable care to these people can help them recuperate and live a normal life.