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Health of Women after Wartime Deployments: Correlates of Risk for Selected Medical Conditions among Females after Initial and Repeat Deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, Active Component, U.S. Armed Forces
ARMED FORCES HEALTH SURVEILLANCE CENTER SILVER SPRING MD
Pagination or Media Count:
Women account for approximately 10 percent of all U.S. military deployers to Afghanistan and Iraq. This analysis estimates the percentages of female deployers n154,548 who were affected by selected illnesses and injuries after first through third deployments to IraqAfghanistan in relation to age group, service branch, military occupation, marital status, pre-deployment medical history, dwell time prior to 2nd and 3rd deployments, and length of deployment. Of these factors, diagnosis of a condition before deployment was by far the strongest predictor of diagnosis of the condition after deployment. Durations of dwell times before repeat deployments were not strong predictors of post-deployment diagnoses of any of the conditions considered. For several conditions e.g., PTSD, disorders of joints, peripheral enthesopathies infertility, the percentages of deployers diagnosed with the conditions sharply increased with deployment length. Post-deployment morbidity moderately increased with increasing numbers of deployments in the case of some conditions e.g., PTSD, migraine, musculoskeletal disorders, but not others. The findings suggest that limiting wartime deployments to nine months may have broad beneficial effects on the post-deployment health of female service members. However, limiting the number of wartime deployments and lengthening dwell times before repeat deployments would likely not have strong and broad beneficial effects on the health of female veterans. Further research to mitigate the effects of heavy loads and repetitive stresses on the musculoskeletal systems of combat deployed females is indicated.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE