Our women veterans have increased in number over the last two decades. There are approximately 2.2 million living women veterans like myself. As woman who has sacrificed to serve in the United States Air Force, I have treated thousands of women with transient and ongoing neurological conditions and symptoms, making women veterans an important topic for me.
As one of the 12% of service members who served in Iraq (OIF) or Afghanistan (OEF), I participated in military operations and was tasked with and honored to provide medical care for the growing number of women serving in the military.
Many women veterans are challenged to overcome physical and mental conditions based on their specific exposures to trauma related to their military service and duty. These traumas include nerve and connective tissues conditions, post-traumatic stress related to combat and sexual assault, as well as common conditions such as migraine and depression.
It is important to know that 1 in 5 women veterans in the recent conflicts of our time are diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Further, women veterans are often young and middle aged women, who would not necessarily be at an increased risk for stroke.
A study published in a November 2019 issue of the journal Stroke looked at one million veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan over a decade. People who suffer from PTSD may be more at risk for stroke.
In addition, military members who have been exposed to warfare agents and bio-hazardous chemicals are found to have impacts on the neural network in the human brain. Symptoms such as difficulty remembering important things, trouble finding words while talking, fatigue, mood swings and even chronic pain are related to this abnormal nerve function. These symptoms are part of the Gulf War Syndrome which occurred 2 decades ago, as well as traumatic brain injury or TBI, which was the signature injury in the Iraq and Afghanistan Operations.
Your Brain Doctor is committed to continue to make a difference in the lives of women who served. These women should also know they have access to benefits and help to live a healthy life.