PT and Hormone Replacement for Vets

In 2008 A bill has been passed in Congress that called for the increase in the recruitment of physical therapists to help fulfill the physiotherapy needs of veterans who are getting on in years as well as of those younger ones with complex injuries.

When soldiers come home with bits of themselves missing or broken, they need all the help they can get in getting back on their feet. They come from war zones with serious injuries – losing limbs, losing brain function, losing eyesight or hearing, or becoming afflicted with the symptoms and complications of Gulf War Syndrome or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – all of which either impair how they move, how they communicate, and /or how they perform their daily tasks.

Aging veterans on the other hand, are bound to experience an increase in health problems and other effects of aging, diminished senses and musculature decreasing in strength and movement.

The Injured soldiers and aging vets mentioned above create an increasing demand for a wide range of physical therapy services.

Physical therapy can check for and go about their daily lives. PT’s in establishments like In Motion find ways and solutions for their patients to function well through and despite of their age, their injuries, or disabilities. They promote movement, restore function, and prevent further injury and disability, and keep vets active and healthy.

Aging veterans should also have access to hormone therapy — whether it traditional or bio-identical hormone therapy from placs like Dallas Healthy Aging– as they get on in years. Getting old is hard enough and complicated enough, healthwise, without adding hormonal imbalance into the mix.

Although traditional hormone therapy is covered by the Department of Veterans Affairs health care, alternative treatments for menopause-related symptoms are not. Hopefully Congress’s next move would be to take up H.R.383.IH again, which is Menopausal Hormone Replacement Therapies and Alternative Treatments and Fairness Act of 2011. It was first sponsored by Representative Barbara Lee of California and was referred to the Subcommittee on Health is currently still gathering dust.

The men and women who have served the country in uniform ought to get the best care possible, and extended every kind of help, to keep them healthy, and happy and comfortable. It’s the least our country can do for them.

War and Drugs

War isn’t over when it’s over. Soldiers have to keep fighting it long after a winner is declared, long after they get home to their families, friends, and communities, where they have to fight all new battles as well.

They come home battered with wounds and injuries, some with parts of themselves missing – some physical, some psychological. The horrors of war don’t just go away, the memories stay, as does the fear. There are terrible events that have been witnessed, and every veteran — whether army, navy, or marine — has to live with his or her memories. Most of them readjust, but there are many who don’t, who can’t. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a very real, very crippling condition that some veterans are afflicted with.

Vets have to fight the disorientation of home and the normalcy it represents. They were privy to events so beyond normal, that normal becomes as much of a burden as war. They are changed people, troubled, angry and confused, but the world expects them to return to who they were before they went to war. They have to maintain their relationships, get and keep jobs, all amid the turmoil inside them.

20 percent of vets with PTSD are alcohol or substance abusers. Anything’s better than sober. Vets are at high risk for alcohol and substance abuse. It is easy for them turn to drinking in order to achieve a few moments of oblivion. Some turn to the numbing effects of painkillers that have been prescribed them. This can only lead to more trouble, as alcohol and substance abuse leads to drunken bar fights, road rage, drunk driving, domestic violence, to name a few. And it’s not pretty.

The drinking, the drugs, the crime and misconduct – these dishonor our vets and dishonor what they did for our country. They rob them of their sanity and their dignity.

If they committed any crimes, of course they must pay the price. But these vets need help too. They need to be treated with compassion and be given access to drug addiction treatment centers. For those in Orange County, they can visit Simple Recovery.

Hearing Loss in the Military

For men and women returning from service in any branch of the military, the most common injury, far more prevalent than the all-too-common post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, is hearing loss. Though it is not life-threatening, it is more than debilitating, affecting quality of life in an all-encompassing way – psychologically, financially, and – most terribly – socially. Many veterans consider it one of their worst traumas.

Any person in the service of the military in any capacity runs the risk for hearing loss. And it’s not just about the discharge of weapons, the close range explosions of grenades and bombs, which by themselves cause severe and permanent damage to the ears. It’s because the environment of every enlisted person in general is noise-filled. The vehicles, machinery and weaponry today are lightyears more sophisticated that those used in World War II, and are much much louder too. There’s constant drumming and humming of engines, and ever-present metal on metal clangs.

The term “hearing loss” covers hearing impairment ranging from mild, partial, to total inability to hear. It does not just mean not being able to perceive sound, but also not being able to distinguish and differentiate different sounds, which is what matters most in speech perception. For military men and women, who are required to be in excellent shape when they sign up, hearing loss is usually caused by trauma and injury. Tinnitus is the sound of ringing in the ears that can sometimes accompany hearing loss.

Hearing loss is covered in the VA for disability and medical benefits. But VA Watchdog notes that it seems the policy in the Veterans Association to first deny any claims for hearing loss or tinnitus, and recommends to prepare for an appeal even before any initial claim. To get coverage for treatment procedures, meds, or for hearing aids, vets must gather evidence to establish proof of their service – medals, citations, enlistment or discharge papers. They must also have a record of what kind of noises they were exposed to while in service, which probably caused the damage. And finally, they must establish proof of hearing loss, and for this, VA Watchdog recommends getting examined by a civilian audiologist or ear doctor, such those in Tustin Hearing Center, but using VA protocols.

Taking Care of Our Eyes

We take our eyes for granted, but life would be a thousand times more difficult if we had to do without them. Any impairment would not be good either, as eyeglasses and contacts can be uncomfortable and too much hassle, and LASIK surgery can be very steep.

Here are some tips that would help us make sure that these very important sense organs remain healthy and fully functional for a long long time.

1. Keep them moist. Make sure you blink enough times. Don’t stare at your smartphone, tablet, or computer screen for too long. Make sure you take a break every 20 minutes to rest your eyes and focus them on something else. If you find yourself in an atmosphere that is too dry, make sure you use eye drops or artificial tears to moisten your peepers.

2. Protect them from harmful elements. Most of these are common sense practices, and things that our parents may have told us to do (or not do) Wear UV protection when you go out into the sunshine, goggles or masks when swimming, working with chemicals with fumes or sparks or dust. Don’t touch them with dirty hands. Don’t poke them with sharp objects, mascara wands included. Keep laser pointers and direct beams from high wattage lamps and flashlights away.

3. Don’t read in the dark. Don’t work in the dark either. Engaging in these activities without sufficient light strains your eyes, at the very least, and could potentially damage them.

4. If you’ve been prescribed eyeglasses or contact lenses, wear them! This could prevent your vision from getting any worse.

5. Get enough rest. Eyes get tired too, and sleep is the sure way to recharge them.

6. Get Vitamin A (retinol and the different types of carotenes) in your diet. It’s nourishment for the eyes. It is present foods with a yellow or orange color, such as eggs, cheese, carrots, sweet potatoes. Prevents night blindness.

7. Visit your ophthalmologist (like once every two years, more often if there are eye problems in your family history, so you can detect any problems early on.

Dispute Over Gulf War Syndrome

cardiologist in MiamiIn the World War I era, many vets had “shell shock”, decades later, the term “post traumatic stress disorder”, or PTSD, was introduced. Both are considered psychological conditions. But what about Gulf War Syndrome or GWS? This is the term is used interchangeably with Gulf War Illness (GWI) to refer to a range of symptoms that affect soldiers who have gone home from the first Gulf War, which ended in 1993.

The symptoms included, but were not limited to chronic fatigue syndrome, certain cancers, a slew of pulmonary and cardiopulmonary problems, neurological problems, in addition to PTSD. Many of these are not only due to battle stress, but continuous exposure to open air trash burning fire pits, pesticides, pesticides, degraded uranium, and the antitoxin the soldiers took to pre-empt damage from any nerve agents that the enemy might use against them, which in the end caused its own slew of neurological side effects.

Research and anecdotal data taken from veterans from all over the country, from Seattle to Miami, indicate that Gulf War Syndrome is not a psychological or psychosomatic illness, but a real medical condition, the management of which ought to be included in Gulf War veterans’ benefits. Coverage should include professional fees of pulmonologists, cardiologists, and neurologists. You might want to consult with a Miami cardiologist in Soffer Health Institute.

High drama has ensued in May this year in Washington when Dr. Stephen Coughlin, a senior epidemiologist from the Department of Veteran Affairs, quit his job, and came out charging the VA with tampering, ignoring, and/or obscuring data on symptoms affecting Gulf War vets and Iraq-Afganistan vets, and the factors that link them together. There has been indications that the exposure to burn pits is linked to myriad of debilitating respiratory disorders, including a severe reduction of lung capacity, which is extremely constricting especially in terms of employment, as well as mobility and quality of life in general.

Coughlin alleges that the VA is bent on keeping Gulf War Syndrome as a psychosomatic disease, which would cost less in terms of health benefits than a lifetime of chronic issues. While VA denies any data manipulation, and has revealed the results of their own research that showed the unlikelihood of the burn pits causing the vets’ lung problems.

Uncle Sam Wants You to Have a Water Softener

There is a little known program out there for veterans that will pay for the installation of a water softener in your off-base housing if you meet certain guidelines. The program wasn’t put in place specifically for water softeners but while
because water softeners meet the guidelines for energy reduction
, you can get a grant from the government to pay for the installation as long as you are active duty in any of the military branches or are considered a veteran under the rules of the program with foreign war service in the last 10 years. For more information and to see if you qualify, start out by clicking the infographic below.


Hormone Replacement for Veterans?

hormone replacement therapyOne of the duties to we should fulfill for our veterans is to help them sustain their quality of life as they enter their senior years. When our vets reach a certain age, certain aspects of the very same quality of life are diminished, which are caused by their bodies, decreased production of certain hormones.

Yes, we are talking about menopause, and this is a valid concern, as there are currently a little over 2 million female veterans in the U.S., making up around 10% of the entire veteran population, with minor deviations in certain counties (e.g. in Denver, CO, female vets come up to 11%) The cessation of function of the ovaries, including the production of female hormones, causes physical and psychological symptoms such as hot flashes, migraines, depression, osteoporosis, decreased libido, and vaginal dryness, most of which stay until post-menopause. And all these symptoms could be relieved with hormone replacement therapy, which in women consists of pills containing estrogen which may or may not be taken with progestin.

But we are also talking about andropause, the male version of menopause. It is a relatively lesser known condition than menopause, but the reality of its occurrence is the same. It afflicts, or will afflict, males, which comprise the other 90 percent of the veteran population. Andropause occurs at a much younger age than menopause, as testosterone levels in men begin their downward slide when they’re in their 30’s and 40’s, dipping alarmingly to half of their peak levels their 80’s come along. Along with this slide comes decrease in muscle mass, bone strength, and libido.

Hormone replacement therapy ( for men consists of testosterone which, because it is toxic to the liver, can not be taken in a pill. Rather, it is applied as a gel onto the skin, and is then absorbed into the system.

Research shows that testosterone replacement produces positive results via increased lean-body mass and bone density, and a decrease in fat. It also leads to wider coronary arteries and could relieve angina.

In both menopause and andropause, hormone replacement can make a big difference in improving health and quality of life.

Grants for Veterans

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Veteran grants are funded by the federal government to help veterans start small businesses of their own or to provide financial assistance for the education of their children. There are also grants for veterans that are not only geared to help veterans start business, but are focused on helping the veterans themselves to receive higher education and occupational training as well.

The United States military veterans receive numerous benefits for their service. There is the pride and respect that comes with having been a member of the service. There are also tangible benefits such as the ability to receive treatment at veteran’s medical facilities or hospitals and monetary discounts. There are also various scholarships and grants available to veterans who wish to apply.

The United States Department of Labor in 2008 announced 103 different grants for veterans which amount to approximately $300 million to help them receive job training for their futures. These grants were formulated to assist veterans with their shift to civilian careers. These grants were awarded by the  United States Department of Labor’s Homeless Veterans Reintegration Program (HVRP) and the Veterans’ Workforce Investment Program (VWIP).

The G.I. Bill isn’t any new government grant. It has been changed since the September 11, 2001 event. It covers the veteran’s tuition at any public university, and after 9/11 the changes made it possible to cover a big portion of tuition for private education as well. A veteran must fill out the necessary application for the G.I. Bill and submit them. Then he has to apply and enter into a university and have his enrolment certified and approved by the School Certifying Official (SCO) and submit to the necessary government office in order to begin his free schooling.

This bill aims to bring a big number of veterans to colleges and universities. The US Dept of Veterans inspects the attendance rates of veteran’s college and the outcomes and how support programs affect them. Educational grants are generally awarded on basis of competition.

In February of 2006 in the state of Illinois, the proceeds of the lottery tickets go straight to supporting the veterans of the state. Some of these grants can cover disability benefits, health insurance costs, research, housing assistance and post-traumatic stress disorder treatment.

There are housing grants available for veterans, in the form of housing programs that are specially adapted for vets with disabilities. Disabled vets can build their own homes by apply for grants. They can even adapt or rebuild their existing home to fit their needs with the use of this grant. This encourages independent and healthy “barrier-free living environments” for the veterans.

Children of Veterans Tuition Grants are offered by some states like Michigan. The grants aim to offer and assist on the undergraduate tuition of specific children – those over the age of 16 and under the age of 26. These students must be the veteran’s adopted or natural children from the state of Michigan. The total amount of scholarship assistance that students can receive through this veterans children grant is $11,200.

Military Tuition Grant is offered by Ashton University for those who are veterans of the armed forces. This grant pays for a portion of a veteran’s tuition and all of the applicable technology fees that the university charges. An individual must be eligible for VA benefits through the Department of Veteran’s Affairs if he/she wants to apply for a grant. The applicant can directly apply through the university at the registrar’s office for this grant once the veteran is enrolled in classes. This tuition grant is only for undergraduate classes.

Related Resources:

What are Grants

Va Benefits

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The Department of Veterans Administration has a number of programs for veterans that provide medical, financial, and other assistance. American’s who received a general or honourable discharge, there are four major benefit programs:

  • Disability compensation
  • Programs for Veteran’s pension
  • Low-cost or free  medical care through VA medical facilities and  hospitals
  • Programs for Education


If you are veteran of the military with a disability that is service-related you may qualify for monthly benefits of over $3,100. Veterans who have injuries or diseases that happened while on active duty, or were made worse by active military service are paid these benefits. It is also paid to certain veterans disabled from VA health care. The benefits they receive are free of tax.

Many veterans of wartime service are completely unaware of the fact that if they are 65 or older and on a limited income they may qualify for a VA Pension without being disabled.

Veteran’s Pensions Eligibility:

  • you were discharged from service under other than dishonorable conditions,
  • you served 90 days or more of active duty with at least 1 day during a period of war time.
  • It is required that anyone who enlisted after 9/7/80 has to serve at least 24 months or the full period for which a person was called or ordered to active duty in order to receive any benefits based on that period of service. With the advent of the Gulf War on 8/2/90, veterans can now serve after 9/7/80 during a period of war time. When they do, they generally must serve 24 months to be eligible for pension or any other benefit.
  • you are permanently and totally disabled, or are age 65 or older,
  • your countable family income is below a yearly limit set by law.

Members are qualified for a life insurance up to a maximum of $400,000 under Service members’ Group Life Insurance (SGLI).  A maximum of $100,000 is available for spousal coverage while children are covered automatically for $10,000 at no cost.  Any member of the uniformed services covered by SGLI is qualified for a traumatic injury protection rider that provides payments between $25,000 and $100,000 to members who have a traumatic injury and suffer losses such as, but not limited to, blindness, paraplegia and amputations.

Full-time and active duty National Guard personnel have education benefits that are available to those who have contributed $1200 under the Montgomery GI Bill,  served for at least two years and, and members of the Selected Reserve that are certified as eligible under the Montgomery GI Bill – Select Reserve. The Chapter 1606 program provides a monthly stipend while the Chapter 30 program is limited to payment for tuition and fees.

After serving on continuous active duty for 90 days persons on active duty are qualified for a VA home loan guaranty. Exemption from the loan guaranty funding fee are extended to those going through a pre-discharge claim program who are found to have service-connected conditions that will be rated as compensable.

To be qualified for financial assistance to adapt a vehicle to accommodate a disability or to purchase a vehicle, they must have certain qualifying disabilities (e.g. loss or permanent loss of use or one or both feet) that were acquired during active military service.

During emergency situations, theVA health care facilities are available to active duty service members and when referredl by military treatment facilities through Sharing Agreements or under your TRICARE coverage.

For those personnel who are on active duty and who have been given the Medal of Honor and determined to be qualified by one of the service departments are entitled to receive a special Medal of Honor pension from the VA.

Va Home Loan Rates

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A VA-guaranteed loan is a loan made by private lenders like savings, banks, & loans, or mortgage companies to veterans who are eligible. If you wish to buy a manufactured home, condominium or home, the VA can guarantee a loan of up to $417,000. A much higher than what you can get with other home loans. VA has two options for those considering to refinance an existing loan. Either you take cash out/ equity or lessen the current rate of interest. The option for “cash-out” is limited to $144,000.

A down-payment is a part of the purchase price of your home that the buyer pays in cash and doesn’t finance. Borrowing from VA loan doesn’t make you worry about your down-payment. Certain funding fees  like the percentage of total home loan paid to the VA and closing costs, the expenses other than the price of the property incurred by sellers and buyers in transferring ownership of a property. You must be able pay a part of these fees upfront.

The VA guarantee loan lets you get a mortgage with great interest rate. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender you borrow money from is protected against loss up to the amount of the guarantee, and you have the flexibility to buy your dream home. Visit the website of the Veterans Administration for the current table of VA Funding Fees and for information on veterans who are exempt from funding fees.

Specifically, a VA home loan can help veterans:

  • Buy a residential condominium or home
  • Alter, repair, or improve a home
  • Refinance an existing home loan
  • Purchase a manufactured home with or without a lot
  • Improve and buy  a manufactured home lot
  • Build a home
  • Install a solar cooling or heating system or other improvements
  • Buy and improve a home along-side with energy efficient improvements
  • To reduce the interest rates by refinancing an existing VA loan
  • Refinance a manufactured home loan to acquire a lot

The administration may suspend from the program those who take advantage of veteran borrowers, or decline to sell a new home or make a loan to an eligible veteran of good credit because of color, race, sex, religion, disability, status of family or national origin.

New home builders are required to give the purchasing veteran a warranty of one year and assurance that the home was built VA-approved specifications and plans. A  warranty must be given for new manufactured homes.

The VA may compensate or pay the veteran borrower for any structural defect corrections of new construction completed under VA or HUD inspection. They may get compensated if it affects the livability of the home and if within four years of a home loan guarantee assistance was requested.

When the borrower avails a VA loan may only be charged the fees and other allowable charges prescribed by VA as allowable. The borrower can prepay without penalty the entire loan or any part not less than the amount of one installment or $100. The VA encourages holders to extend  if a borrower becomes temporarily unable to meet the terms of the loan.

To help the Veteran borrower, Loan Guaranty has Loan Technicians in 8 Regional Loan Centers and one Regional Office who intercedes  with the servicer to explore all options to avoid foreclosure.  Veterans or service members VA-guaranteed home loans can call (877) 827-3702 to reach the nearest Loan Guaranty office where Loan Technicians are prepared to discuss potential ways to help save the home.

The loan servicer has the primary responsibility of reviewing the loan to resolve the default, so it is imperative borrowers contact their loan servicer as quickly as possible.

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