Guest Post in Honor of Veteran’s Day….

Life After Service: Health Risks For Veterans

                                                                                      – by Emily Walsh

Veterans give a lot to their country. Their sacrifice extends well beyond just the time they spend in active duty. These individuals face long-term health risks many years after their service. From Iraq veterans who run the risk of mesothelioma to all combat veterans who struggle with a host of mental and physical ailments, the price is great. It is important for veterans to stay on top of their health once they leave the military. Regular doctor’s visits are important for picking out problems before they are too serious to fix. Veterans should also focus on eating right and maintaining an exercise routine.

Long-Term Mesothelioma Risks
Many veterans are exposed to the risks of cancer. This especially true among people who have served in urban warfare areas like Iraq. Many of the buildings in Iraq are old and full of asbestos. This means that when those buildings are destroyed, harmful things enter the air. Veterans who work on demolition teams are more apt to contract mesothelioma cancer. A smart veteran will stay on top of these problems by taking on routine doctor’s visits. Even if you don’t have a horrible disease, seeing a doctor is a positive for your health.

Keeping Up With an Exercise Plan
One of the primary problems for veterans in the wake of service is keeping up an exercise plan. Many veterans run into a problem faced by former athletes. They are accustomed to burning thousands of calories per day with physical training and combat operations. When these veterans get out, they maintain the same eating habits without the old exercise routine. This can lead to many health problems, including heart disease and diabetes. A good exercise routine will ensure that you avoid the long-term problems created by poor lifestyle choices.

Staying on Top of Mental Health
A white house release detailed some of the mental health risks faced by veterans. That report, which can be found here, provides guidance to veterans on how to seek the proper mental health support for their issues. This is one of the important and often overlooked aspects of health that many veterans ignore. It is important to get any potential issue checked out before it becomes a major problem. Veterans have the power to improve their mental health. Eating right, getting on a structured schedule and sleeping the proper amount will bring about better mental health. Professional assistance is important as well.

Veterans have given a tremendous amount to this country. When they return from war, they still face many barriers that civilians can never understand. Long-term health risks persist for these individuals. As a veteran, it is important for you to understand these risks and do your best to mitigate them. See your doctor as often as possible to get out in front of problems before they get too serious. Develop a serious exercise routine to keep your body in shape. Don’t forget about your mind and the mental health risks that can act as pitfalls for veterans in your position.

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