This study included 5,347 men: 2,042 non-veterans, 2,127 non-combat veterans and 1,178 combat veterans. Combat veterans were more likely to have served during World War II than noncombat veterans (41% vs. 15%) and less likely to have served during the Vietnam Conflict (17% vs. 24%; ). Compared to non-combat veterans, combat veterans’ mean age at induction was approximately one year younger (19 vs. 20 years) and mean duration of service was almost 2 years longer (3 vs. 5 years). Service in a combat zone was the most commonly reported combat exposure (83%), followed by having seen others wounded or killed during the war (73%), and having been under fire or fired at the enemy (60%). Only 13% of combat veterans reported having been wounded or missing during war.
Veterans were older and more likely to be white and of higher SES than non-veterans (). Compared to non-veterans, both combat and non-combat veterans were less likely to currently smoke than non-veterans (p<0.01), less likely to have prevalent LVH (p=0.07 and 0.02, respectively), and less likely to have elevated SBP (p<0.01). Non-combat veterans were less likely to be diabetic than either non-veterans (p<0.01) or combat veterans (p=0.01). Compared to both non-veterans and non-combat veterans, combat veterans had the highest average total cholesterol (p=0.01 and 0.05) and the lowest average HDL cholesterol (p<0.01 and <0.01).
From 1987 through 2004, 632 validated definite and probable CHD events occurred (), representing 11.6% of non-veterans, 11.3% of non-combat veterans and 13.2% of combat veterans. For models with a non-veteran referent, both full and final models included baseline age and adult education. For the model with a non-combat referent, duration of service dropped out during model selection, leaving a full model with only baseline age. There were no significant differences in CHD rates between non-combat veterans compared to non-veterans or between combat veterans compared to non-veterans (). When the two veteran groups were compared, although tests of homogeneity suggested difference in effect by era and although the direction of effects differed by era, CIs overlapped considerably.
Observed cumulative period prevalence (PP) rates and adjusted prevalence rate ratios (PPR)1 of coronary heart disease (CHD) by military service and combat history: ARIC Study participants who completed the LC-SES interview (2001–2002).
From 1987 through 2004, 234 validated IS events occurred, representing 4.4% of non-veterans, 3.7% of non-combat veterans and 5.7% of combat veterans. The full model with a non-veteran referent included baseline age, race, adult education, father’s education and interactions with father’s education and race. The final model included baseline age, father’s education and interaction with race. Although the interaction with race was significant, CIs overlapped considerably; therefore, combined results are presented. For the model with a non-combat veteran referent, the full model included baseline age and interactions with father’s education and era of service, while the final model included only baseline age and interaction with father’s education.
Although both combat and non-combat veterans had elevated IS rates compared to non-veterans in adjusted analyses (), CIs overlapped considerably. When the two veteran groups were compared, among veterans whose fathers had less than a high school education, IS PP rates were 79% higher among combat veterans, even after age adjustment (95% CI: 1.10–2.91).
Observed cumulative period prevalence (PP) rates and adjusted prevalence rate ratios (PPR)1 of ischemic stroke (IS) by military service and combat history: ARIC Study participants who completed the LC-SES interview (2001–2002).