America's service members often sacrifice their health in the line of duty, while bravely protecting our country. Veterans from Alabama and nationwide may find that after they return home from active duty, they suffer from a variety of ailments, some of which can be disabling.
Approximately 50 percent of post-deployment medical appointments made by veterans are due to some sort of musculoskeletal pain. This pain could be localized in a person's muscles or in the joints in areas such as the shoulders, neck, back or knees. While regular exercise can help with such issues, these conditions have the potential to be disabling.
Sometimes service members are exposed to dangerous chemicals, such as nerve agents, while in the line of duty. According to the American Heart Association, this could cause long-term damage to the heart. Moreover, even though service members receive vaccinations before being deployed, they still incur illnesses that are not common in the United States and there is no vaccine for. Some of these infectious diseases can manifest themselves for years, or could even be fatal.
Another common impairment service members suffer from is hearing loss. This also includes hearing a constant buzzing or ringing noise. Moreover, service members who routinely worked with equipment that causes vibrations can suffer from irreversible back pain or other long-term injuries. And, of course, service members can suffer from traumatic brain injuries while in the line of duty.
Finally, not all ailments veterans face are physical. Mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder are well-known among veterans. Other mental disorders, such as substance abuse, depression or acting violently can also be disabling. One study reports that depression or post-traumatic stress disorder majorly impacts the day-to-day lives of anywhere from 8.5 to 14 percent of one in 10 veterans of the Iraq war.
As this shows, serving in the military can cause life-long health problems. Veterans' issues, including mental illness, head injuries and other war-related injuries can necessitate long-term medical care and can sometimes be disabling. When this happens, a service member may want to determine whether he or she can pursue Social Security disability benefits.
Source: Live Science, "After the Battle: 7 Health Problems Facing Veterans," Maureen Salamon, Nov. 11, 2010