Meg Joins the Navy

A new member of the Navy Nurse Corps and a proud wife of a Navy corpsman stationed together at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

12 November 2012

Veteran's Day & Health Issues, a Guest Post

Veteran's Day is a great opportunity for Americans to express their gratitude to those who have served our country in the military. Your sacrifices have enabled the United States to remain free and prosperous. Sometimes people who make sacrifices for others fail to take care of themselves like they should. Or perhaps they just do not have correct information when it comes to health matters.

Let's take a look at some of the more common health issues that our brave veterans often face when their days of service are over.

Fitness and Weight
The rigors of military life provided many opportunities for veterans to stay in shape. After their years of service, many find themselves out of shape and facing weight-related health issues like diabetes and joint and back pain. That is why it is so important to get regular exercise and to have a good diet. It is almost like an insurance policy against many diseases.

Find an exercise that you enjoy and gets your heart pumping. Encourage your spouse or loved ones to accompany you when your run, swim, or bike. This way, you can motivate each other when your enthusiasm lags.

When you begin your exercise routine, be sure that you are also eating healthy foods. Your body will need high quality fuel to provide energy for your exercising.

If you are doing resistance training, you will need to be sure that you are getting a good source of lean protein. Good sources of lean protein are fish, turkey, and skinless chicken.

Many years ago, a product called asbestos was commonly used in many military facilities and vehicles. At first, asbestos was thought to be harmless. However, it became known that the asbestos fibers caused a serious lung disease called mesothelioma cancer in some people.

Some veterans were exposed to asbestos fibers while working in military bases that used the material in construction materials like fire-proofing and insulation. The U.S. Navy had many cases of mesothelioma among its personnel because asbestos was widely used as fire-proofing in places like boiler rooms and submarine engine rooms. Since even a small fire could do major damage in a confined space like a submarine, asbestos was commonly used in places at high risk of fires.

One aspect of mesothelioma is that the disease often takes many decades to become evident. So even though you many have served 30 years ago, you may have been exposed to asbestos without knowing it. Fortunately, the disease often progresses very slowly and the symptoms are treatable. So take heart if you have been diagnosed. There is hope.

Treatment for mesothelioma tends to focus on treating its symptoms. Many mesothelioma sufferers live enjoyable and productive lives for many, many years after their diagnosis. This disease is well known to science, so your doctor will know how to treat any symptoms you may be experiencing. Also, the search for a cure is ongoing.

Written by Emily Walsh, Community Outreach Blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance

Please keep your support for those serving and who have served because those good memories and the hardships will stay with them forever, as will the physical hardships they all endured.

Happy Veteran's Day!