Common Injuries to US War Veterans

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Injuries are a part of war and soldiers must live with the fact that most will be injured either slightly or greatly during their time at war. For those returning, their injured their challenges increase and are added to the long list of issues war veterans face when they come back home. When they do returned injured a big challenge for them is finding housing that is adapted for their specific injuries. These types of homes, built by non-profits like Helping a Hero are life-savers for many veterans who have suffered combat and other injuries.

Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

TBIs are the most commonly discussed war veteran injuries because of the devastation they can wreak on the individual, his family and community. TBIs occur when the soldier receives a concussive blow to the head that causes a disruption in brain function. This type of injury has always been prevalent in war because of the concussive effects from small and large bombs. These blasts put servicemen at the greatest exposure to TBIs and 20 percent of those caught in a blast report some form of TBI health issue. Because of the constant bombing at close quarters, TBIs were the most frequent wounds sustained in Afghanistan and Iraq.  Symptoms include: anxiety, depression, headaches, memory loss, irritability and lack of motivation. The onset of symptoms can be nearly immediate to up to months and can last for short periods or become chronic.

Loss of limbs

The amount of soldiers who lose limbs during combat in Iraq and Afghanistan is surprisingly high. There are more than 10,000 amputees if you count those who have lost fingers and toes. And among the combat wounded from all the military services, there are 1,572 patients with major limb amputations, including 486 wounded troops with multiple amputations. Most of the amputees, 83 percent, have lost one or both legs, mostly from the blast of improvised explosive devices. These soldiers are most often treated with therapy and surgery and when appropriate and possible prosthetic devices are utilized to assist with their mobility and freedom.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a debilitating disorder that occurs in many servicemen either during a war or in a noncombat situation. The soldier experiences feeling of his or her life or the lives of others are in danger or the soldier has no control over what is happening. This may have actually happened during a combat situation where a soldier was killed or wounded or the soldier with the symptoms was injured. The result is often a partial total shut down of the soldier’ ability to function with common symptoms including: anger and irritability, recurring memories or nightmares, sleeplessness, and being constantly on guard. Sometimes symptoms don’t surface for months or even years after an event occurred and they may occur after a soldier has returned home.

PTSD took a long time to diagnose and an even longer time to understand. In recent years, researchers have dramatically increased our understanding of how to treat ththe illness and as a result, hundreds of thousands of veterans have gotten treatment for PTSD and found significant relief from their symptoms. Two types of treatment have been shown to be effective for treating PTSD: counseling and medication.

Injury to the Muscles and Skeleton

Soldiers often live with chronic pain sustained in injuries while at war. In fact, more than half of all soldiers report some sort of ongoing pain in their backs, knees or necks. This pain can be recurring and either mild or completely debilitating. The pain is usually treated with surgery, therapy and medication. But long term treatment of medication has been tied to dependence on pain killers.

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