by Jim Fausone
The VA often funds research that is helpful in understanding complex medical conditions. VA and Stanford University completed a large study that shows that among younger veterans enrolled in VA health care, those with a mental health condition—especially posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—tend to have more physical ailments. The results, published online Sept. 18 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, explain the link between emotional stress and physical illness.
The researchers examined the records of more than 90,000 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans who used VA outpatient care in fiscal year 2006–2007. The majority had received a diagnosis of at least one mental health condition. About 35 percent of men and 27 percent of women had PTSD. The link between PTSD and medical (non-mental) illness was stronger among women than among men. Women with PTSD had a median of 7 medical conditions, versus 4.5 for women with no mental health diagnosis. The most common physical ailments for women were lower-back problems, headaches and lower-extremity joint disorders. Men with PTSD had a median of 5 medical conditions, versus 4 for men with no mental health diagnosis. The most common complaints for men were similar to those of women—for example, back and knee problems—but also included hearing loss.
As you advance your disability claim and secondary or related claims, this research may be helpful. Read more at http://www.research.va.gov/currents/oct10/oct10-3.cfm