Why “Gulf War Syndrome” Does Not Properly Describe Health Conditions Suffered by Veterans

Why “Gulf War Syndrome” Does Not Properly Describe Health Conditions Suffered by Veterans

“Gulf War Syndrome” is a term used to describe a cluster of medically unexplained symptoms experienced by many Gulf War veterans, including fatigue, headaches, joint pain, indigestion, insomnia, dizziness, respiratory disorders, and memory problems. However, the VA prefers to classify these symptoms as “chronic multi symptom illnesses” or “medically unexplained illnesses”.

Why ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ is an Inaccurate Term

The symptoms experienced by Gulf War veterans vary widely, so they cannot accurately be referred to as a single syndrome. Research is still being performed to develop further understanding of the causes and potential treatments of these chronic multi symptom illnesses. However, the prevalence of certain diseases among Gulf War veterans has provided enough evidence for the VA to consider certain diseases presumptively connected to military service.

Presumptive Conditions for Gulf War Veterans

Certain chronic, unexplained symptoms that have persisted for 6 months or more are presumed to be connected to military service for Gulf War veterans that are seeking disability benefits. These conditions include:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • Functional gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), functional dyspepsia, and functional abdominal pain syndrome
  • Undiagnosed illnesses with symptoms such as abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances

If you are experiencing one of these conditions, and served in the Southwest Asia Theater of military operations between August 2, 1990 and the present, you will not need to prove that your disability is connected to military service when you apply for VA benefits.

However, you will still need to apply in order to receive benefits. You can do this online here, or you can apply by mail. You will need to show proof of your disability and your service during the Gulf War.

Presumptive Infectious Diseases for Gulf War Veterans

Certain infectious diseases are also considered presumptive for Gulf War Veterans. If you have any of the following infectious diseases and served in the Southwest Asia Theater of Operations between 1990 and the present, you may qualify for presumptive service connection:

  • Brucellosis
  • Campylobacter Jejuni
  • Coxiella Burnetii (Q Fever)
  • Mycobacterium Tuberculosis
  • Nontyphoid Salmonella
  • Shigella
  • Visceral Leishmaniasis
  • West Nile Virus
  • Malaria

You must have a current disability related to the infectious disease in order to qualify for VA benefits.

If you served during the Gulf War and are experiencing health issues as a result of your service, contact Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick for help with your claim or appeal. Our veterans law practitioners have experience with every aspect of the appeals process. Call us at 401-331-6300 for a no-cost case evaluation.

Category: Veterans Law

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