<--GAT-->

Prevalence of Asthma Tripled in Recent Deployed Veterans

by U.S. Medicine

January 21, 2017

SAN ANTONIO—The prevalence of asthma nearly tripled during an eight-year period in VA patients who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new study.

The report, published in Military Medicine, said prevalence of the lung condition jumped from 1.1% to 3.1% between 2003 and 2011.1

The South Texas Veterans Healthcare System-led research also found that the rate of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) also increased, though not as dramatically, rising 0.31% to 0.55%.

To reach those conclusions, the study team focused on more than 760,000 veterans who served in Iraq or Afghanistan and received VA healthcare during the study period. Researchers suggest the findings “may suggest a link between deployment exposures and increased diagnoses of chronic lung disease in troops deployed to those countries.

The study did not compare rates of lung disease between deployed and nondeployed veterans but only identified a rise in the percentage of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who sought VA care for respiratory ailments.

“What we need to do is develop a longitudinal cohort that includes individuals who served in different periods of the wars, to begin disentangling the effect of deployment-related exposures, aging, and the interactions between exposures and aging,” said Mary Jo Pugh, PhD, RN, of the VA and the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Overall, about 34,000 out of the total study population, representing 4.5%, had any of the chronic lung diseases included in the analysis. Over the entire study period, 0.8% were diagnosed with COPD, 3.4% with asthma and 0.3% with interstitial lung disease.

Tobacco users, as determined by records showing a related diagnosis, or receipt of smoking cessation services, had more than a fourfold risk of lung disease, according to the report. Older age and a traumatic brain injury were also linked to a higher risk.

  1. Pugh MJ, Jaramillo CA, Leung KW, Faverio P, Fleming N, Mortensen E, Amuan ME, Wang CP, Eapen B, Restrepo M, Morris MJ. Increasing Prevalence of Chronic Lung Disease in Veterans of the Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mil Med. 2016 May;181(5):476-81. doi: 10.7205/MILMED-D-15-00035. PubMed PMID: 27136656

Comments are closed here.


Related Articles

Physician Documents, Promotes Veteran Honor Guards in VA Hospices

PHILADELPHIA—Michelle Brassil, MD, had been warned when she began her fellowship at the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz VA Medical Center’s Community Living Center in Philadelphia. “Don’t be surprised if you’re emotional,” her supervisor told her.... View Article

Lack of DoD/VA Decision-Maker Could Hamper EHR Implementation

WASHINGTON—Plans are moving ahead for VA’s 10-year, $16 billion effort to modernize its electronic health record system, but legislators still have questions about the project’s timeline and funding, as well as concerns about the project’s... View Article


U.S. Medicine Recommends


More From department of veterans affairs

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Announces Proposed Standards for Access to Mission Act Outside Care

WASHINGTON—Congress announced last month that it will be opening an investigation into alleged improper influence by three civilian consultants to President Donald Trump on administration of the VA. The three men—Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Announces New Partnerships to Expand Telehealth Services

WASHINGTON—Congress announced last month that it will be opening an investigation into alleged improper influence by three civilian consultants to President Donald Trump on administration of the VA. The three men—Ike Perlmutter, CEO of Marvel... View Article

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

VA Fails to Use All Outreach Resources to Combat Veteran Suicide

Despite declaring veteran suicide as its No. 1 clinical priority, VA’s suicide prevention outreach efforts dropped off in 2017 and 2018, and a lack of clear goals and inconsistent leadership has impacted its success, according to a Government Accountability Office report.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Disabled Veteran Helps Others Like Her Get Back Into the Workforce

Ten years ago, Coniece Washington was walking through the Washington, DC, VA Medical Center when she saw a job notice tacked to a board: certified rehabilitation counselor.

Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

Senate Blocks Agent Orange Exposure Extension to Blue Water Veterans

Blue Water Navy veterans who claim to be impacted by toxic exposure while serving off the coast of Vietnam were forced to grapple with disappointment once again as the 115th Congress ended without passing legislation addressing their VA benefits.

Subscribe to U.S. Medicine Print Magazine

U.S. Medicine is mailed free each month to physicians, pharmacists, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and administrators working for Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense and U.S. Public Health Service.

Subscribe Now

Receive Our Email Newsletter

Stay informed about federal medical news, clinical updates and reports on government topics for the federal healthcare professional.

Sign Up