Vietnam veterans with PTS are at a higher risk of death

Vietnam veterans with post-traumatic stress (PTS) have a twofold higher average death rate than those without the disorder. New research suggests that warzone trauma may still negatively impact veterans’ health more than three decades after the Vietnam War.

A study by Abt Associates and the Cohen Veterans Center at New York University Langone Medical Center followed about 2,400 Vietnam veterans from the 1980s to 2011. The National Vietnam Veterans Longitudinal Study comprises one of the longest follow-up periods of a representative group of veterans to date. The researchers found that veterans with PTS were at a greater risk of dying from cancer or external causes such as suicide, murder, traffic accidents and other injuries than those without the disorder.

“This study gives us vital insights into the potential long-term health and mental health effects of warzone service on America’s uniformed services personnel,” said Abt researcher Dr. Nida Corry, one of the study’s lead authors. According to the findings published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, the study “offers really valuable empirical information that can help us better understand how to care for our Vietnam veterans.”

The researchers were unable to determine why PTS and warzone stress increased the risk of death. Vietnam veterans, now most in their 60s and older, make up the majority of living veterans today. Examining the long-term health effects of their combat experiences would help improve the treatment and support available to them. It would also enhance prevention efforts for future generations of service members.

Legal Help for Veterans, PLLC fights for veterans rights. We fight to make sure you get the benefits you deserve from the Department of Veterans Affairs. To learn more or contact an attorney about your Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, Mental Health, Sexual Assault, Hearing Loss and Tinnitus, Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployability, Medical Malpractice, or Aid and Attendance claim, visit or call 800.693.4800

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