Vets With PTSD Suffer More Medical Illnesses

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Sep 21 2010 - 10:05am

As of late there has been a great deal of focus on veterans with mental illness. More and more vets have been reported having symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The latest research is now finding that veterans with PTSD suffer more medical illnesses than do those with no mental health condition.

Vets can offer thanks to these finding to Dr. Susan Frayne, from the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. Frayne and her colleagues discovered that medical treatments may need to be closely integrated with mental health services for this somewhat fragile population who are just returning from war.

Researchers found that vets with PTSD suffered more medical issues by conducting a study by analyzing the data for over 90,000 people who use Veterans Health care services. They compared the number of diagnosed medical conditions suffered by returning soldiers with PTSD and with those with no mental health condition.

The discovery shows there was much more medical illness for those with PTSD than for those with no mental health issues

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The study also found that women with PTSD suffered more medical conditions than did those with no mental health conditions. The most frequent medical conditions were lower spine disorders, headache and lower extremity joint disorders. For men with PTSD suffered a little less medical conditions with lower spine disorders, lower extremity joint disorders, and hearing problems.

People with PTSD have lived through a traumatic event that caused them to fear for their lives, see horrible things, and feel helpless. Strong emotions caused by the event create changes in the brain that may result in PTSD.

Some of the symptoms of PTSD include; reliving the event , nightmares, feelings of intense distress, loss of interest in activities and life in general, avoiding situations that remind them of the trauma, feeling emotionally numb, irritability or outbursts of anger, difficulty concentrating, hypervigilance (on constant alert), suicidal thoughts and feelings and medical conditions.

Frayne concludes: “Health delivery systems serving our veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder should align clinical services with their medical care needs, especially for common diagnoses like painful musculoskeletal conditions.

“Looking to the future, the impetus for early intervention is evident. If we recognize the excess burden of medical illness in veterans with PTSD who have recently returned from active service and we address their health care needs today, the elderly veterans of tomorrow may enjoy better health and quality of life.”

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Comments

When I cam back from Iraq I was coughing and had.a hoarse voice that I could just not get over. Then I started to have stomach problems and sever fatigue. I was a medic over there and just thought I was worn out and depressed. I was last diagnosed with ptsd, gerd and ibs. Later as I got sicker over the next two years my joints began to ache and then swell. I got more fatigued and started running daily fevers. Now a year and a half ago I have been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis and I am very sick and now fully disabled from both ptsd and rheumatoid disease. I agree that those of us with ptsd are more susceptible to diseases. I am a physician assistant who worked for the VA untill I got too sick and saw this increase in medical problems in vets with ptsd. I am a believer.