Medical/mental Conditions Burden Troops

STANFORD, Calif., Sept. 22 (UPI) — The burden of medical illness among U.S. troops returning from combat was greater for those with post-traumatic stress disorder, researchers say.

Dr. Susan Frayne of the VA Palo Alto Health Care System and Stanford University, and colleagues, say the effect is more pronounced in women than in men — a median value of seven conditions vs. 4.5, with the most frequent being lower spine disorders, headache and lower extremity joint disorders.

The research team analyzed data for more than 90,000 men and women who use Veterans Health Administration services.

Men with PTSD suffered more medical conditions than did those without mental health conditions but the difference was smaller — a median value of five conditions — most often lower spine disorders, lower extremity joint disorders and hearing problems — for those with PTSD vs. four for those with no mental health issues.

“Health delivery systems serving our veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder should align clinical services with their medical care needs, especially for common diagnoses like painful musculoskeletal conditions,” Frayne says in a statement.

The findings are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

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