Veterans, having been exposed to a unique set of working conditions, often face medical conditions that are far more complex than their civilian counterparts. The intense physicality involved in their work can lead to musculoskeletal conditions. The injuries sustained in conflict can also leave veterans permanently disabled. These are the ten most common disabilities among veterans and former service members.
Tinnitus (1,610,911 veterans)
The most common disability to affect former members of the armed forces is tinnitus. Tinnitus is a hearing impediment that often leads to those affected hearing a permanent ringing sound when no sound is present. There are now hearing aids for tinnitus treatment, offering former service members a significant improvement in their quality of life.
Hearing Loss (1,084,069 veterans)
Alongside tinnitus, hearing loss is very common among veterans. The loud noises of conflict zones can cause lasting hearing loss in long-time service members.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (887,899 veterans)
PTSD is common in service members that saw conflict during their time in the armed forces. It can be triggered by seemingly innocuous events in everyday life, causing veterans to relive traumatic memories, often inducing extreme physical and mental distress.
Back and Neck Strain (844,533 veterans)
Lower back and neck pain are common in ex-servicemen and women due to the physically intensive lifestyle of being in the armed forces. Previous injuries can flare up later in life, causing extreme pain and discomfort.
Scarring (827,459 veterans)
Deep cuts and lacerations often leave scar tissue which can be permanent. Wounds sustained in military service are often severe and therefore, scarring is a common sight among former members of the armed services.
Knee Pain (755,204 veterans)
Physical trauma sustained to the knee joint can cause lasting pain or result in limited mobility of the knee and lower leg. Arthritis, which also causes knee pain, is also particularly common among those that had active military lifestyles.
Sciatic Nerve Paralysis (580,986)
The sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down each leg, can be paralyzed as a result of injury or trauma. This is a common disability among military veterans.
Limited Ankle Mobility (511,300 veterans)
Injury or an underlying condition can cause reduced ankle mobility. It is not uncommon for ex-military personnel to experience a deterioration in ankle mobility to some degree as a result of a physically intensive lifestyle.
Type Two Diabetes (438,572 veterans)
Veterans in the Vietnam War were exposed to a variety of herbicides, including Agent Orange, which has been linked to sharp rises in type two diabetes. The science behind the link between herbicide exposure and diabetes is still being explored. However, the correlation is there, making type two diabetes one of the most common disabilities among veterans of the Vietnam era.
Migraines (436,339 veterans)
Migraines, often a result of stress, are often associated with veterans and former military personnel. The life of a serviceman or woman is abundant with stress and pressure. This often manifests itself as migraines.
Former military personnel who are battling with the effects of their time in the forces do not have to suffer alone. The Veterans Association (VA) has a number of services available for former service members and can provide medical assistance and treatment for a variety of ailments.