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What is the difference between a diagnosed and an undiagnosed illness?

Have you ever struggled to understand something that so many people you know grasp so quickly? I will admit that I find myself in this type of situation often. For instance, when I competed in speech and debate in high school I struggled to remember my speeches. Every tournament I would lose because I had pauses in my speeches as I forgot the lines I wrote. One day my coach had a private conversation with me. He informed me that the judges don’t know what I know. If I forget something, they are never going to realize it because they didn’t have a copy of my speech in front of them. It all made sense to me then. The next tournament I ended up winning my favorite category and placing in two others. I had finally grasped this whole speech thing! Sadly though it was my senior year and that was our last tournament. 

When I started learning the VA disability process I had a similar problem with differentiating between a diagnosed illness and an undiagnosed illness under Gulf War Illness. Looking back it seems like it should just be so simple, but I struggled with it for longer than I want to admit.

According to the VA-you know, the people who are turning “The Hunger Games” into reality-an undiagnosed illness may include but is not limited to: abnormal weight loss, fatigue, cardiovascular disease, muscle and joint pain, headache, menstrual disorders, neurological and psychological problems, skin conditions, respiratory disorders, and sleep disturbances. Honestly, that definition isn’t satisfying. This is why I struggled for so long to understand this term. I shouldn’t really be surprised that the VA is not fully explaining something.

I believe if you look at it like this, it will make a world of difference. Let’s say a Veteran who never smoked was deployed to Iraq for 18 months. When he returned home he was discharged. Later in life this Veteran started having a respiratory issue. When he went to the doctor all of the medical tests could not prove what caused his respiratory problem. Thus his problem is undiagnosed. The VA agrees that his exposure to certain elements while serving in Iraq may have caused an undiagnosed respiratory issue.

What if a Veteran was diagnosed with something like asthma after serving in Iraq? This is a little tricky. If the Veteran has no other risk factors for something like asthma, then he may still be able to get it service connected as an undiagnosed illness. If he didn’t smoke, no other family members had it, or he didn’t have allergic reactions to anything prior, it would be difficult to prove where his asthma originated. Therefore one can easily be led to believe that it was a result of serving in Iraq.

We always say that every case is different and that two Veterans never have the same results. When it comes to undiagnosed illnesses, this is extremely true. If you are curious about service connecting for your undiagnosed illness, give us a call today for free consultation. 1-877-526-3457. If you would rather be contacted by a member of our staff, complete this form.

Having an attorney in a situation like this will be very beneficial. 

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