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Unexplained illnesses continue to plague Gulf War vets

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 — A prominent condition affecting Gulf War veterans is a cluster of medically unexplained chronic symptoms that can include fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders and memory problems. VA refers to these illnesses as "chronic multi-symptom illness" and "undiagnosed illnesses." The term “Gulf War Syndrome” is used when referring to medically unexplained symptoms reported by Gulf War veterans.

Gulf War veterans who meet the criteria below do not need to prove a connection between their military service and illnesses in order to receive VA disability compensation. VA presumes certain chronic, unexplained symptoms existing for six months or more are related to Gulf War service without regard to cause. These presumptive illnesses must have appeared during active duty in the Southwest Asia theater of military operations or by Dec. 31, 2016, and be at least 10 percent disabling.

Illnesses include: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition of long term and severe fatigue that is not relieved by rest and is not directly caused by other conditions. Fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by widespread muscle pain. Other symptoms may include insomnia, morning stiffness, headache and memory problems.

For the full Vet2Vet and other opinions, read the Tuesday, July 1, 2014 edition of the Lassen County Times.


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