What is Gulf War Illness?
Did you serve in the Gulf War? Regardless of how much rest you may get, do you still find yourself constantly tired? Do you have frequent or constant heartburn? Perhaps you were a high school track athlete but now the walk from the house to the car leaves you short of breath? You may have one or many of the Gulf War Illnesses that are plaguing our Veterans who serve in the Gulf. First, let’s talk about the Gulf War.
The Gulf War covers time periods from when the first Gulf War started on August 2, 1990 to present, the Iraqi Freedom Mission (2003-2010), and Operation New Dawn (2010-2011). It includes the areas of Iraq, Saudi Arabia (and the neutral zone between the two); Kuwait, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates, Oman, Gulf of Aden & Oden, the waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea, and the airspace above all these areas.
Now that we have established the area and time periods of the Gulf War, let’s define what Gulf War Illnesses are. Gulf War Illnesses are certain illnesses directly related and affected by a Veteran’s time served in the Gulf War. A list of these conditions includes:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, a condition of being constantly tired, which is similar to having a constant flu with severe body, muscle, and head aches.
Functional Gastrointestinal problems, which includes a constant upset or sour stomach.
Other symptoms include unexplainable weight loss, cardiovascular disease, menstrual problems, psychological and neurological problems.
This is only the beginning as there are more symptoms that are less defined. All Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Centers (VAMC) offer free health exams to help diagnose your illnesses and provide you with treatment.
(Written by Special Guest Blogger Elizabeth Dues, Intake Specialist)