The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Veterans and Lung Disease: Know the Facts

12 Nov 2017
| Under Lung Disease, Medical, Related Conditions | Posted by | 2 Comments
Veterans and Lung Disease: Know the Facts

Our veterans deserve the best. Veterans Day has a long history, originating as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919—the first anniversary of the end of World War I. By 1938, November 11th became a national holiday. Not to be confused with Memorial Day, which is the fourth Monday in May and honors service members who died in service to their country or as result of injuries incurred during battle, Veterans Day pays tribute to all American veterans, living and deceased, who served their country honorably during war or peacetime.

Veterans are at triple the risk of developing chronic lung disease compared to the general population. Occupational lung disease can come from exposure to cigarette smoke, sand, dust, chemicals, airborne heavy metal and chemical particles from exploded munitions, aeroallergens found in desert regions and smoke from burn pits.

We’re thankful for all of our service men and women. The Lung Institute is here to help you better understand how veterans may develop a chronic lung disease and what’s being done to help veterans fight those lung diseases.

Statistics on Veterans and Lung Disease

According to the Veteran’s Administration (VA), over 14 percent of veterans who are deployed to a combat zone develop lung disease. Consider these statistics:

Overall Statistics for Veterans and Lung Disease

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

Stats for Veterans of Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan

Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan were exposed to many irritants, including:

  • Air pollution from burn pits and the burning of trash using jet fuel.
  • Airborne explosive residue
  • Aeroallergens such as date palm pollen
  • Airborne sand and dust

How many veterans are there in the United States?

Veterans and Lung Disease: Know the Facts

Currently, there are approximately 19.9 million military veterans in the United States, 9.2 million veterans over 65, 1.6 million veterans under 35 and 1.6 million veterans who are women. Five states have more than 1 million veterans within their population. California has the most veterans at 1.8 million. Next are Florida and Texas with about 1.5 million veterans each. Finally, 1 million veterans reside both in New York and in Pennsylvania. As time goes on, more veterans will likely develop COPD, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis and other chronic lung diseases, and they will need treatments tailored to their needs.

While more research is needed to better understand the risk of lung disease in veterans, there is hope for veterans with chronic lung diseases. Treatment options are available, such as medications, oxygen therapy, pulmonary rehabilitation and stem cell therapy.

What’s being done to help veterans fight lung disease?

Traditional medications like bronchodilators and corticosteroids work to manage lung disease symptoms. They can typically be used in combination with other therapies as well. Stem cell therapy works to promote healing from within the lungs, potentially addressing the disease at its source and improving lung function.

In fact, many people report feeling better after treatment, and some are able to reduce or stop using oxygen therapy under the care of their doctor. Most people notice small changes at first, such walking a little more and getting dressed without feeling out of breath. Over time, many people say that they can breathe easier and live a more active lifestyle again.

At the Lung Institute, we are grateful for the service of our military and armed forces, and we’re glad to provide an alternative treatment option for veterans and civilians with chronic lung diseases. If you or someone you love has COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary fibrosis or another chronic lung disease and would like more information about stem cell treatment options, contact us at (800) 729-3065.


  1. PB

    1 year ago

    Dear Sandra,

    Thanks for your comment and questions. We will reach out to your patient coordinator to be sure the packet is in the mail. To setup a consultation and to have your questions answered fully, it’s best to contact your patient coordinator. Your patient coordinator will be able to answer your questions and help you setup a consultation. So, feel free to contact us at (855) 313-1149. We wish you the best, and we look forward to hearing from you soon.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Sandra moreno

    1 year ago

    Hi my name is Sandra
    I spoke with Michelle, regarding information about my friend who has COPD. She was suppose to be mailing a packet with information regarding stem cell. I also would like to know about setting up a consultation for my friend and what would be the cost. Also I would like to know if a consultation could be set up as soon as possible. Thank you very much Sandra

* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

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.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. The Lung Institute is firmly in accordance with the conditions set by the FDA for exemption status and conducts itself in full accordance with current guidelines. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.

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 stem cell 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.