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Papers of the Week

2019 Nov 01

Am Fam Physician



Care of the Military Veteran: Selected Health Issues.


Yedlinsky NT, Neff LA, Jordan KM
Am Fam Physician. 2019 Nov 01; 100(9):544-551.
PMID: 31674738.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18.2 million veterans were living in the United States in 2017, of whom 1.6 million were female. Less than one-half of all veterans receive care at a Veterans Health Administration or military treatment facility, leaving most to receive services from primary care physicians. Injuries and illnesses common among this patient population include musculoskeletal injuries and chronic pain, mental health issues such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and moral injury, traumatic brain injury, chemical and noise exposures, and infectious disease concerns. Family physicians should ask about military service and be well informed about the range of veterans' health concerns, particularly PTSD, depression, and suicidality. Physicians should screen veterans for depression using the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 and for PTSD using the PTSD Checklist for DSM-5. Veterans with traumatic brain injury should be screened specifically for comorbid PTSD and chronic pain because the diagnosis informs treatment. Exposures to loud noise, chemicals, and infectious diseases are prevalent and can cause disability. Family physicians can use available resources and clinical practice guidelines such as those from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense to inform care and to assist veterans.