You’ve heard of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but U.S. veterans are often plagued with health issues that go unnoticed by the general public. As we celebrate their service on Veterans Day, it’s important that we give respect to the men and women who’ve served, by recognizing the long-term effects that many still deal with years after they’ve left the armed forces.
1. Gulf War Syndrome
Gulf War Syndrome is a collection of potentially debilitating symptoms that plague some veterans of the 1991 Gulf War. They include chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, muscle and joint pain, headaches, psychological problems, forgetfulness, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Some estimates say that it affects 30 percent of the men and women who served during the conflict. While the exact cause remains unknown, the same study found that veterans who experience these symptoms also experienced a loss of brain matter.
The Veterans Administration (VA) doesn’t like the term Gulf War Syndrome, preferring to categorize the condition as “chronic multisymptom illness,” or sometimes simply as “undiagnosed illnesses.”