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5 Health Problems Facing Veterans

by Vinay Kumar

Serving in war at the expense of your well-being is both selfless and not easy. As an active-duty soldier, your decision to enlist in the US forces is why the nation rests peacefully at night. However, living through these events leaves lasting effects on you. From physical ailments to mental health problems, there is more than one enemy you’re battling with. Unfortunately, unless you know what potential hazards you may face as a veteran, you may not know what help you require. Therefore for your understanding, here are some conditions you may face following discharge:

1. Mesothelioma

The 1930s to the 1980s were a different time. Around this period, asbestos was the trending material that almost every manufacturer used to build weapons and buildings. You might be immensely exposed if you served in the army during this decade. Mesothelioma takes years to materialize, and when it does, it is often in its later stages and very painful to deal with. Additionally, the cost of removing an aggressive cancer is also impossible. The hiking bills and the endless cancer treatments can take a toll on you but have faith. 

There are certain veteran benefits you can look into. These resources are all set into place for those that served to provide them timely help and if any veteran may need resources while dealing with a disease like mesothelioma. Whether you need access to disability funds, require good doctors to look at you, or cannot support yourself. The government will provide for you. As long as you know how to file a claim and access benefits, you can make it easier for yourself to get help.

2. Mental Health Issues

Over one million veterans experience mental health issues. Unlike physical scars, you can never judge how deeply your mental well-being is in shambles. When it comes to war, you’re paying with more than your life. These mental wounds go with you home. As a veteran, you may feel PTSD from the traumatic incidents you witnessed.

Additionally, there is a chance you may feel paranoid, show signs of schizophrenia, have high functioning anxiety, and may even have a borderline personality disorder. Mental health ailments can lead to self-harm, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, loss your appetite, and sometimes cause you to stop caring about hygiene. Unless you get professional help in the form of a psychiatrist with sessions backed with counseling and therapy, it may be hard to return to who you once were. Your doctor may also give you pills that are best to use while trying to keep your mental health in check.

3. Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic brain injury results from blows to the head, which can occur due to severe explosions and blasts resulting in heavy debris colliding with your head or when you get injured because of the impact of being hit on the head. While the skull is in place to protect your brain, the injury can shake up the gray matter. Consequently, you may experience severe cognitive issues, including speaking problems, slurry words, lack of comprehension, and short attention span. You also feel depressed, isolated, angry, and irritated. While long-term traumatic brain repercussions are unknown, concussions can sink in deeper, causing the veteran to become a vegetable. 

4. Infectious Diseases 

When you get stationed in a new country, you get exposed to their atmosphere, including food and water. So before you get deployed, as per health regulations, you will have to undergo a physical evaluation and get the vaccine shots you need. But your medications cannot prevent you from certain illnesses since they happen suddenly, such as biting a rabid animal or exposure to specific parasitic flies. 

However, common symptoms include abdominal pain, fever, bacterial infections, and diarrhea. If pathogens dominate the area under investigation, it can lead to blood poisoning. Certain illnesses like HIV, Hepatitis A, and B can get controlled with the proper medications. But prolonged stays can make a recovery harder, especially when you’re away from the hospital for too long. 

5. Physical Pain

As a veteran, you may have specific physical ailments like an aching back and pain in your neck and shoulders. When you move your limbs, a sharp jolt of pain may course through your body. In some instances, you may have intense chronic symptoms like inflamed joints making it hard for you to do anything. Shrapnel wounds and bullet holes also make it hard for you to recover comfortably. In addition, the injuries may not heal properly, leaving behind raw scars which need stitches. It is not uncommon to get hit or injured in war, but getting you back on track is hard when you’re too physically injured. Your doctor may recommend some physical therapy and pills, which would help if you take them. You may also need to rest plenty and take lots of fluids. 

While recovery is slow, it is not impossible. All you need to do is identify your source of pain, explain how you got it, and work on getting better. It is also essential you get your wounds checked if they’re not healed or scabbed, it could be a sign of infection. This may walk you down a whole other path of pain. Most discharged veterans start carrying sticks. While you can do the same, try to use your limbs to combat the pain and use your joints as much as possible to prevent long-term health complications.

Final Thoughts

Being a veteran requires some commitment on your end. It is difficult to put your life in a dangerous position where you may have no return. It is also not easy to return with wounds and conditions that can impact your life. Mesothelioma is one such prevalent issue. Despite asbestos being banned, we still have products made exclusively with the same account; if you have mental health issues, you need help that only a psychiatrist can provide. 

The tale doesn’t end there. Brain injuries are often harmful and can lead to complete bed rest. In addition, the concussion aggravates and can lead to worse disorders from which recovery is hard and takes a further toll on you. But the only way forward is to get help on time so that healing is possible.

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