Health is a critical concern for pretty much everyone. It also tends to get worse as you get older.
One demographic that tends to face some challenging health concerns as they get older is veterans. While veterans are prone to many health concerns as others, there are some that tend to affect them more, like dealing with lost limbs or post-traumatic stress disorder.
As veterans age, they may face several health concerns. We’ll go over eight that are particularly common among this population and what can be done to overcome them.
Brain injuries can happen for a number of reasons for veterans. They can occur due to head trauma from an explosion, falling, or a blunt strike to the head.
Recovering from a brain injury can be a long and challenging process. Veterans may have to relearn how to walk, talk, and eat. They may also deal with chronic pain, headaches, and dizziness. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for brain injuries, but rehabilitation and therapy can help veterans regain some of their function.
Cancer is a common health concern among most people, and it’s no different with veterans. In fact, veterans may be at an increased risk for cancer due to their exposure to things like dangerous chemicals or radiation.
There are many different types of cancer, so treatment will vary depending on the type. In general, treatment options may include surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. The recovery process from these treatments can also be time extensive.
Lost limbs are another health concern veterans face, particularly those who have served in combat. Lost limbs can happen in various situations. For example, a veteran may have lost a limb to things like explosive devices or vehicle accidents.
There is a long recovery process when it comes to losing a limb. Veterans may need to learn how to use a prosthetic device and adapt to their new body. They might also need to learn how to do day-to-day tasks, like driving, without the use of their missing limb.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can occur after someone experiences a traumatic event. Veterans are at an increased risk for PTSD due to their exposure to combat and other potentially traumatic events.
Symptoms of PTSD can include intrusive thoughts, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, and depression. Some treatment options to consider are talk therapy, support groups, medication, or attending a PTSD treatment center.
Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorders are another struggle veterans commonly face. Veterans may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the stress of their job or to self-medicate for other mental health conditions like PTSD.
Substance use disorders can be difficult to overcome. It will often take a lot of time to address the root of why a veteran has a substance use disorder. Still, there are treatment options available. These may include therapy, rehab centers, and support groups.
Chronic pain can be caused by things like injuries, arthritis, and nerve damage. Chronic pain can make it difficult to do everyday activities and may also lead to depression and anxiety.
Chronic pain can be tricky to pinpoint and address. While one part of your body might be in pain, it might be due to a neighboring body part. However, once you can figure out where the pain is coming from, many treatments are available, including medication, physical therapy, and acupuncture.
Depression is a common mental health condition that can occur at any age. Veterans may be at an increased risk for depression due to their experience while in the military or other potentially traumatic events. Symptoms of depression can include sadness, fatigue, changes in appetite, and difficulty concentrating.
Treatment options may include therapy and medication. It might also help veterans make some lifestyle changes, such as exercising more and engaging in other stress-reducing activities.
Dementia is a health concern primarily among the elderly, and veterans are no exception. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability. This can include things like memory loss, difficulty communicating, and changes in mood or behavior.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for dementia, but there are a few things that can help. This might include doing activities to keep your mind active such as crossword puzzles or playing chess. It also helps to maintain a healthy weight and diet.
These are only a few of the health concerns veterans might face as they get older. While some conditions are more common than others, it’s important to be aware of all the potential health concerns so you can be prepared.
If you think you or a loved one might be facing any of these issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional. The sooner you’re able to address these issues, the better chance you have at surviving them.