Exhale

The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Veterans with Occupational Lung Disease

16 May 2015
| Under Chronic Bronchitis, COPD, Lung Disease, Pneumoconiosis | Posted by
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Veterans with Lung Disease Lung Institute

Do Veterans Develop Lung Diseases While Deployed?

When I hear the words “occupational lung disease”, I think of a scene from the movie October Sky when the miners are coming up the elevator from the coalmine; their faces are covered in coal dust and they are hacking into their hands. I don’t see the face of a veteran. Maybe that has more to do with my predisposition to think of veterans as immortal beings sent to protect us, not susceptible to illness or the common cold. However, according to the Veteran’s Administration (VA), over 14 percent of veterans that are deployed develop lung disease. Given that since 2004 the Department of Defense disqualified soldiers from enlistment if they had a lung disease, this means that a large percentage of these soldiers are developing these diseases during their time in service.

The Stats on Vets with Occupational Lung Disease

The statistics about veterans with occupational lung disease speak for themselves:

  • Veterans are 4 percent more likely to develop lung disease than civilians.
  • Over 6 percent of all veterans that served in Iraq and Afghanistan sought treatment for a lung condition.
  • The VA tested 80 soldiers returning from combat for chronic bronchitis between 2005 and 2009. Of those tested, 45 percent developed the disease and 66 percent of those diagnosed had never smoked.

Iraq and Afghanistan

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan presented a large number of irritants to the soldiers that served there:

  • Burn pits, the burring of trash using jet fuel, exposed thousands of soldiers to air pollution.
  • Improvised explosives threw harmful metals and chemicals into the air.
  • Dust from sand storms exposed soldiers to irritants that could lead to silicosis.
  • The desert is also prone to outdoor aeroallergens from the date palm.

Treating Veterans with Occupational Lung Disease

The VA is obviously offering treatment options to the men and woman that served and are suffering from occupational lung disease, but what type of treatment are they offering? Acute forms of these diseases, or those that are not ongoing, can be treated with medication and bronchodilators. However, diseases like chronic bronchitis and emphysema are progressive and incurable. The current practice is to continue people suffering from these disease on a regiment of medication that eventually leads to supplemental oxygen. Medication may help slow disease progression, but they won’t return lung function. This has led some veterans to seek out cellular therapy for their occupational lung disease.

Cells for Vets with Lung Disease

Physicians harvest cells through a minimally invasive procedure, isolate them and reintroduce them to the lungs. The result is healthier tissue growing in place of damaged tissue, and although this doesn’t cure the disease, it slows lung degeneration and brings a normal life back within reach.

If you or a loved one suffers from a chronic lung disease, the Lung institute can help. Contact us by calling (800) 729-3065 today to see if you qualify for this innovative treatment.

* Every patient is given a Patient Satisfaction Survey shortly after treatment. Responses to the 11-question survey are aggregated to determine patient satisfaction with the delivery of treatment.

^ Quality of Life Survey data measured the patient’s self-assessed quality of life and measurable quality of improvement at three months of COPD patients.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

As required by Texas state law, the Lung Institute Dallas Clinic has received Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval from MaGil IRB, now Chesapeake IRB, which is fully accredited by the Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Program (AAHRPP), for research protocols and procedures. The Lung Institute has implemented these IRB approved standards at all of its clinics nationwide. Approval indicates that we follow rigorous standards for ethics, quality, and protections for human research.

Each patient is different. Results may vary.