Updated: Mar 16, 2019 18:13 IST
Washington D.C. [USA], Mar 16 (ANI): After the war is over in the battlefield, army veterans face a new threat. According to a recent study, veteran soldiers are more likely to have heart disease at a younger age, when compared with non-veterans.
The study used data from the National Health Interview Survey, a nationally representative health survey of individuals in the United States.
“Because of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have a relatively large, new, younger generation of veterans who are going to survive for 30 or 40 years after their war experience,” said Ramon Hinojosa, lead author of the study published in the Journal of American Board of Family Medicine.
The study indicates that perhaps the “healthy-soldier effect” is no longer guaranteed. The effect refers to the tendency for active-duty service members to be more physically fit and less overweight than same-age, nonmilitary individuals. It’s a phenomenon that Hinojosa explores in ongoing research.
“The outcome of the analysis suggested that not only does the healthy-soldier effect not seem as potent as it once was, in fact, what I see is veterans tend to have cardiovascular morbidity earlier than nonveterans, and they tend to have a greater number of conditions,” Hinojosa says.
The researcher said the change could be due to the nature of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, modern warfare, changing diets, changing approaches to leisure and exercise, higher rates of obesity in younger veterans than nonveterans at the same age, and higher rates of drinking, smoking and mental illness.
In light of these results, Hinojosa said it is important for health practitioners to look closely at cardiovascular health for younger veterans so they can address preventative approaches to ward off early onset of cardiovascular diseases.
Hinojosa looked at five particular cardiovascular conditions reported in the survey and their association with veteran status and socio demographic status, including age.
Responses from 153,556 individuals were used, and the study looked at pooled survey data from 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the most recent available data at the time.
From age 35 to about age 70, veterans reported significantly more cardiovascular conditions than nonveterans. After age 70, nonveterans reported more cardiovascular conditions than veterans.
The switch could be due to fewer veterans surviving into older age because of cardiovascular diseases, Hinojosa said. (ANI)