What is Gulf War Syndrome?
Gulf War Syndrome is also called as the Persian Gulf War Illness (GWI), Dessert Storm Diseases, Gulf War Veterans Illnesses or Persian Gulf War Syndrome (GWS). It is actually a collection of symptoms which are reported by veterans who fought the Gulf war ever since the August of 1990.
It consists of medically explained symptoms that have not really been made clear if whether the symptoms were associated with the services during the Gulf War. As reported, they have manifested the syndrome after the veterans returned from their duty. The symptoms they manifest are culled out or are a result of the experiences they encountered upon battle. The syndrome is often a controversial topic to consider because some of them would not agree that such a syndrome truly exist. It is a rare kind of syndrome that doesn’t happen to anybody or everyone, for that matter.
Gulf War Syndrome Showing Effects to Soldiers as Well as Their Offspring
Gulf War Syndrome Symptoms and Signs
The symptoms that are associated with the Gulf war syndrome are myriad and most often they don’t appear at the same time. Persons, especially military persons or veterans, who are diagnosed to have such syndrome, will manifest the following symptoms:
- Loss of muscle control
- Loss of balance
- Mood wings
- Memory problems
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Shortness of breath
- Skin problems
- Chronic fatigue
- Neuropsychological symptoms
- Sleep disturbances
- Menstrual disorders
- Abnormal weight loss
- Cardiovascular symptoms
- Gastrointestinal symptoms
- Neurologic symptoms
- Alcohol abuse
- Sexual discomfort
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Traumatic brain injury
- Swollen glands
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Chronic multi symptom illness
- Mood difficulties
- Speech difficulties
- Easily irritated
- Impaired decision making or problem solving
- Easily confused
- Ringing of the ears
- Concentration difficulties
- Attention difficulties
- Visual problems
- Terminal tumors
- Post traumatic stress disorder
- Cognitive dysfunction
- Anxiety disorder
Gulf War Syndrome Causes
Because of the different symptoms that are associated with the Gulf War Syndrome, researchers believed that it may be due to a collection of numerous kinds of illnesses with different etiology rather than just merely a single cause. Researchers believe that the possible causes of why a person has Gulf War Syndrome may be due to:
Nerve gas medication and insect repellants
Researchers found out that one of the cause to why veterans during the Gulf War experiences the Gulf war syndrome is because most of them were exposed to carbamate acetylcholinesterase inhibitors and organophosphate.
There have been reports also of veterans who were inflicted with infectious disease during the Gulf war period. Such of these infectious diseases were sandfly fever, travelers’ diarrhea, cutaneous leishmaniasis, malaria, west Nile virus, mycobacterium tuberculosis, campylobacter jejuni, coxiella burnetii or Q fever, non typhoid salmonella and mycoplasma infection.
Most often the weapons used during the Gulf war period were made of chemicals. Such chemicals causes debilitating symptoms to the veterans which resulted to some of the symptoms mentioned above.
Another possible cause of Gulf war syndrome is because of biological weapons. It was also another weapon used during the Gulf War era which yielded to fatalities of veterans. Those who were affected suffered the symptoms that were mentioned earlier.
The use of anthrax vaccine yielded to serious negative effects which resulted to the GWI or Gulf War illness or syndrome symptoms.
Research suggested that persons or veterans of the Gulf war resulted to the Gulf war syndrome such as psychiatric illness. The combat stress may also lead to such symptom mentioned.
Oil well fires
During the war, they sometimes use oil well set on fire as their weapons. The smoke from the oil well fires, if inhaled by veteran or soldiers lead to acute pulmonary problems and chronic effects like bronchitis and asthma.
Autocannon and tank kinetic energy penetrator found in the war uses depleted uranium which resulted to burns and the production of combustion products which are toxic. It also leads to nephrotoxicity, and teratogenic effects.
Gulf War Syndrome Diagnosis
Basically the diagnosis of persons or veterans or soldiers, for that matter, is not really that specified. It will depend on the symptoms one was manifested. The usually action of physicians to persons having Gulf war syndrome is to conduct a:
- Thorough physical assessment
- Medical history
- Laboratory test
- Diagnostic test such as x-rays and the like
- Psychological test are done only if the person manifest psychological problems
Gulf War Syndrome Treatment
Persons or veterans or soldiers that have the Gulf war syndrome actually have no specific treatment as of the moment. The treatment will base on symptomatic approach. There might be prescribed medications which are temporary medication that can either remove or reduce the symptoms associated with the Gulf war syndrome. Some researchers claimed that cognitive-behavioral therapy will aid the patients having nonspecific type of symptoms which lead to more productive lives through the management of the symptoms.
Gulf War Syndrome Life Expectancy
The life expectancy of a veteran person or a soldier having the Gulf war syndrome will depend if the person himself or herself will be able to combat the symptoms or how he or she will respond to the treatment given or provided or recommended by his or her physician.
Gulf War Syndrome Complications
The complication of the Gulf War syndrome only happens when the person’s body have not well responded to the medication or treatment method suggested and provided by his or her physician. The worse complication one might have may be debilitating ones or even suffer their own death.
Gulf War Syndrome Prevention
As of the moment, there are no other ways to prevent illnesses or symptoms associated in the Gulf war syndrome. It comes with the risk of choosing to join the army and the war itself.