Rare lung disease diagnosed in soldiers
Nashville doctors try to pinpoint cause
5:32 AM, Jul. 21, 2011 | 10Comments
Jimmy Williams didn’t realize his military service might be the reason for his breathing problems when he retired from the U.S. Army in 2007 after two tours in Iraq.
He thought he was simply out of shape. “I was really tired all the time, wore out,” he said. “I was just feeling run down, gasping for air. I could hardly mow my yard.”
Williams now knows he suffers from constrictive bronchiolitis, a rare condition that cannot be diagnosed with X-rays or pulmonary function tests. A team of Tennessee researchers discovered scarring inside the small airways of his lungs and those of other soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their findings, published today in The New England Journal of Medicine, could help veterans prove disabilities stemming from their war service.
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