CMI Might Go Beyond Gulf War Vets

A recently completed VA study has found that chronic multisymptom illness (CMI) may be popping up in veterans who were stationed in Afghanistan or Iraq. CMI, sometimes referred to as Gulf War Syndrome, is typically thought to be exclusive to veterans who fought in the Gulf War during the early 90’s.

However, this new study is suggesting that CMI might not discriminate so strictly.

More than 300 Army National Guard and Army Reserve who spent time in Iraq or Afghanistan were examined prior to deployment and again one year after they returned home. Shockingly, 150 of the 319 who reported no symptoms in the first exam, showed signs of CMI after they returned home.

Around 50% of the sample group met the criteria for mild to moderate CMI, and 11% qualified for severe CMI. All veterans with qualifying symptoms also scored significantly lower when their physical and mental functions were tested.

Symptoms for CMI include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Joint pain
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory disorders
  • Memory problems

The most common symptoms found in the study were:

  • Insomnia
  • Moodiness
  • Joint Pain
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty remembering
  • Headaches
  • Sinus Congestion

Although the numbers do suggest a strong correlation, the researchers are cautioning that the symptoms might have been triggered by other conditions like multiple sclerosis.

“We’re taking the approach that an abundance of caution is necessary in the clinical implications of the findings. Respondents self-reported symptoms on pen and paper surveys. The symptoms were not confirmed or evaluated by a clinician. While the CDC case definition is fairly clear-cut, in clinical practice there is a lot of gray area around applying the label of CMI. We used the term ‘symptoms consistent with CMI’ to indicate the uncertainty due to the self-reported, clinician-unverified nature of the classification,” says lead author Dr. Lisa McAndrew.

While there’s no definitive answer yet, the research appears to be strongly suggesting that CMI can be found in Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. CMI is an incredibly frustrating condition to have, because there’s so many unexplained symptoms to treat.

The VA does offer disability compensation for CMI to help vets recover. If you need help with you CMI benefits, call Jan Dils Attorneys at Law.


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