Thursday, January 31, 2013

How Friends and Family Members can Help Veterans Stay Healthy

I'm pretty excited to announce that I have my first guest writer on the blog! Emily Walsh is the Community Outreach Blogger for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, and she has some interesting facts to share with us all! Everybody enjoy!

How Friends and Family Members can Help Veterans Stay Healthy
When a friend or family member leaves military service, many people think that they will adjust to civilian life easily. Too often, however, this is not the case. Veterans often suffer from difficulty in adjusting to civilian life, and this difficulty has been linked to severe health problems. Here are some of the ways in which friends and family members can help the veterans they care for adjust in a healthy manner.
Encourage Them To Be Honest About Mental Health Issues
People in general are reluctant to discuss mental health issues, and veterans who have faced combat are at a high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, many veterans develop mental illnesses unrelated to their service, but their service helped keep their symptoms at bay. By talking with veterans in a nonjudgmental and open way, it may be possible to encourage them to seek help for any mental health issues from which they are suffering.
Honesty With Doctors
Many people are reluctant to disclose certain physical ailments to their doctors, it this lead to severe health issues down the road. Unfortunately, this leads many people who develop otherwise treatable cancers to die from their disease when a cure may have been possible. Veterans are in a higher risk of developing mesothelioma than the general population as asbestos was widely used in military applications in the past. Encouraging veterans to be open and honest with the doctors may help save their lives down the road.
Developing a Daily Routine
Military life depends on regimented activities, and people who have spent years in the military often have trouble adjusting to life without this structure. Friends and family members can play a valuable role in helping veterans develop a structured routine to help them enjoy life and remain healthy. Diet should be a part of this routine, and it may help to teach veterans about basic nutritional facts they may not have learned on the military. In addition, friends and family members can help veterans develop exercise routines to help them maintain their physical health and weight.

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