Find common veterans health and medical topics starting with the letter G that are related to military service history. The guide covers health topics from A to Z. Read on for more information about geriatrics, goiter, Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses, and other medical issues that begin with “G”.
This is an ongoing series and more veterans health topics and letters are coming soon.
Note: What follows should not be taken as medical advice and is not intended as a diagnosis. This page is general information related to common veterans conditions and should not replace advice from your health care provider.
LGBT Veteran Care
The VA official site points to research that indicates veterans in the LGBT community “expect to experience discrimination in VHA facilities which may prevent engagement in care.”
VA programs have been created to provide care for LGBT veterans including certain kinds of transition care, heart health, cancer care, STD awareness and treatment, and more. The VA official site reminds that all veterans are welcome at VA facilities, “…even those who identify as a sexual or gender minority.”
As a community, the VA official site states that certain studies show higher rates of health problems in certain areas compared to non-LGBT veterans; VA programs for the community include transition care for transgender vets, hepatitis screening and immunization, high blood pressure, prostate issues, breast and ovarian cancer screening and treatment, etc. These services are available in the same way that other VA healthcare options are made available to veterans, the first step toward getting VA care in these areas is to get into the VA system.
Geriatrics & Extended Care
There are a variety of VA programs designed for those who need extended care, in-home care, or any other type of service for geriatric patients or clients. VA Geriatrics and Extended Care Services (GEC) such as in-residence care, nursing homes, palliative care, adult day care, hospice and other resources are intended for vets who chronic illnesses or medical issues, “life-limiting” medical conditions, etc.
This type of VA health care allows the patient to use multiple services at the same time, especially in areas where respite care, transportation issues, and personal independence are factors.
The VA Geriatric Patient Aligned Care Team (GeriPACT) program is a blend of traditional VA health care services including those mentioned above in the Geriatrics & Extended Care section and community providers who are not part of the VA system but are VA-approved.
The VA official site describes the program’s services as “care teams” that help veterans with multiple chronic diseases, declining health, and “declining mental capabilities”. Geri-PACT is meant to give the veteran as much independence as possible.
This type of VA program is definitely focused on the elderly veteran population. You can learn more about the options available under Geri-PACT by calling any VA medical facility or center.
Gout is described by medical websites as a form of arthritis that is caused by too much uric acid in the blood, which can be the result of consuming too much of the types of food that contain purines (a variety of meats common to the American diet are likely culprits) that get broken down in the body. The breakdown of purines produces uric acid.
Too much uric acid begins to produce uric acid crystals which may accumulate near the big toe, causing inflammation, swelling, and pain.
Eating too much meat is not the only cause of gout, alcohol interferes with the body’s ability to get rid of uric acid, hereditary factors may be an issue, being overweight, and certain medications may also contribute to the onset of gout.
A goiter is essentially an enlarged or oversized thyroid gland, which is located below the Adam’s apple. Symptoms of a goiter include, but may not be limited to:
- A visible swelling at the base of your neck
- Tightness of the throat
- Trouble swallowing
- Difficulty breathing
Some people may suffer from a goiter and have no symptoms at all. According to the Mayo Clinic, the condition may be caused by a lack of iodine (more unlikely in America due to the widespread use of iodized salt) or faulty production of thyroid hormones (too much or not enough). Other causes of a goiter can include nodules that have developed in the thyroid, a variety of medications including heart medication, lithium, and exposure to radiation.
This autoimmune disorder is more rare than some of the other conditions in the list, but when it strikes it can lead to discomfort, pain, even paralysis. This condition is not communicable since it is a problem created by the body’s immune system turning on nerves in the body. There is no known specific cause, and the condition usually manifests itself after a respiratory or stomach illness.
The symptoms of Guillain-Barré Syndrome are reported as occurring without warning as a feeling of weakness, tingling sensations in the legs or elsewhere in the body. Symptoms may or may not increase-if they do there can be problems breathing, paralysis of certain parts of the body, blurry vision, and palpitations. The recovery period is slow but some sources indicate that a complete recovery is possible over a six month period.
That said, there is no known cure or treatment for the condition specifically; the care you would receive from a VA facility is designed in these cases to manage the condition and improve quality of life while the body recovers from Guillain-Barré Syndrome. It should be noted that while there is no cure, immediate medical attention should be sought if these symptoms affect you.
Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses
The Department of Veterans Affairs has identified a variety of illnesses and medical conditions associated with military service in the Gulf War from 1990 to the present day. These conditions include “chronic multi-system illnesses” commonly referred to as Gulf War Syndrome or Gulf War Illness.
The VA labels these conditions as “medically unexplained illnesses” but provides exams and care for those who need treatment. The VA official site offers eligible veterans a free Gulf War Registry examination process to detect problems associated with service in the Gulf Wars, and dependents/surviving spouses may also qualify.
Health care, compensation, and related benefits may be offered to those who complete the required exam and/or screenings and meet VA criteria for receiving the services.
The Centers For Disease Control official site definition of gynecological cancer includes any cancer that starts in a woman’s reproductive organs. That would include the following conditions:
- Cervical cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Uterine cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Vulvar cancer
The Department of Veterans Affairs notes that certain gynecological cancers were responsible for a high number of deaths until screenings such as the Pap test became widely used. Women are the fastest growing demographic of veterans and the care required for these types of conditions are provided to eligible vets through the VA healthcare system.
Women have a variety of options for screening, diagnosis, and treatment for these conditions. The VA official site encourages women veterans to contact the nearest VA care facility and specifically request to speak to the Women Veterans Program Manager there about how to receive VA care.
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