Vietnam Vets Have Highest Death Rates

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Vietnam Vets Have Highest Death Rates

Vietnam veterans had the highest death rates after discharge compared to other veterans, according to a 30-year study.

Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Vietnam vets had a 7-percent higher death rate during the first five years after discharge compared to other veterans. Researchers say this excess in mortality among Vietnam veterans resulted from an increase in

     

external causes of death such as motor vehicle accident-related deaths, suicides, and homicides. Veterans of the Vietnam War also experienced higher death rates from unintentional poisoning and drug-related deaths.

However, researchers found deaths caused by chronic conditions such as cancer did not differ between Vietnam veterans and their peers, despite the differences in age.

The original Vietnam Experience Study followed more than 18,000 U.S. Army veterans from their date of discharge from active duty until 1983. During the 1980s, the CDC found serving in Vietnam exposed servicemen to several possible health risk factors, including exposure to psychological stress associated with war, infectious disease prevalence in Vietnam, pesticides and herbicides, and drug and alcohol abuse.

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