The brave men and women who join the military know full well of the sacrifice that they must make and the price that they might pay. Beyond the platitudes and the honors given to these exceptional men and women, we need to make a better effort to understand that many veterans suffer wounds of war that slip by unnoticed. These vary from mental health problems to chronic conditions that hinder some bodily functions.
The importance of knowing the injuries that plague our veterans allows us to better care for them, especially when they choose to endure these conditions in silence. So, what injuries and health conditions should we be watchful for?
Over half of veterans have post-deployment injuries and lingering pain in their knees, backs, necks, and shoulders. This is mostly due to the physical exertion needed in combat and in training drills. Doctors suggest that sustained, regular exercise helps reduce the pain and helps veterans avoid disability.
Post traumatic stress disorder is a mental health issue that manifests as the result of an extremely traumatic experience. Veterans who suffer from PTSD often exhibit violent behavior, depression, and alcohol abuse. PTSD has also been linked to the development of physical illnesses and it has also been associated with a greater risk of dementia. PTSD is such a rampant condition among veterans that many projects have been created with the purpose of helping veterans improve their mental health.
Traumatic Brain Injury
Traumatic brain injuries are caused by a sudden and extreme jolt to the head. This type of injury disrupts many brain functions. Patients who sustain TBIs have shorter attention spans, difficulty in expressing and comprehending language, and memory loss. TBI also affects emotional help in that patients often exhibit a lack of motivation, and are also more prone to depression.
Any injury sustained by the bladder, ureters, kidneys, and genitals fall under urologic injuries. In war, these injuries are often treated only after life-threatening injuries and they often are the beginning of more complicated conditions when left untreated.
Severe urologic injuries can harm the delicate nerves that run along the urethra, which then leads to erectile dysfunction. Other injuries lead to incontinence. Depending on the severity of the injuries, a patient may heal after just one surgery, while others are going to need more.
Hearing Impairment and Loss
Another common injury that war veterans suffer comes in the form of hearing impairment and hearing loss. Patients often complain of a persistent buzzing and ringing in their ears that limits their ability to hear their surroundings. There are many causes of hearing impairment, whether it’s in the thundering sound of gunfire and explosions, or the constant noise and vibration of machinery.
As difficult to hear as this may be, there are many instances where veterans are deprived of the care that they need. This is evident in how many veterans sometimes need to hire seasoned lawyers who know how to appeal a VA disability claim so that they’re given the compensation they need.