Joining the armed forces is a noble and time-honored way to give back to your country. The bad guys have never stopped being the bad guys, and unless the good fight is fought to keep enemies of freedom at bay, the likelihood is (as we have seen before) that the bad guys will come to us. To our nation. To our cities. To our streets. The immediate health risks facing the personnel of the army, navy, and air force are generally well known. But today we’re going to look at some of the longer-term and under-reported health risks that manifest in veterans. For example, lung conditions such as mesothelioma cancer due to exposure to hazardous materials may take years to come to light.
Traumatic brain injuries
Trauma to the brain is not always immediately apparent. Much like boxers endeavoring to undertake a career in the ring must consider the risk of brain injuries that develop over time and present health and mobility problems in later life, armed forces personnel may want to consider their likelihood of a similar scenario. The condition is linked to being hit in the head – either by an object or by the shockwaves from explosions or weapons discharging. The armed forces is not a career for people who want to sit still and drink coffee. There is going to be risk of traumatic brain injury later in life.
Depression can affect us all. So, why mention it here? Because a common cause of depression is a perceived feeling of being forgotten or unwanted. The military is as regimented as a career as you can possibly get. You are taught how to dress. How to speak. You are shown the proper way to make your bed. You are drilled on your value and what is expected of you when called upon. When all of this ends and external leadership is removed, some veterans experience difficulty in transitioning to civilized society in which they have to find a purpose.
Let’s be serious, the military is going to put strain on your muscles and bones like no other career. On a scale of 1 to 10 for physicality, the military is an 11, and that’s on Sundays. That’s why it’s not surprising to learn that around 60% of veterans report issues with their joints and lower back that can be directly attributed to their career in the armed forces.