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Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and VA Benefits: What To Know


For veterans who suffer from a collection of varying symptoms, chronic fatigue syndrome is a common diagnosis.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is a constellation of symptoms that occur over a period (most healthcare professionals consider this to be 6 months or more). The syndrome includes memory impairment, sore throat, diffuse muscle pains/multi joint pains, unrefreshing sleep, malaise after exertion and often swollen and tender lymph nodes. Chronic fatigue syndrome is real and can have substantial impact on quality of life for those who suffer from it. There are certainly exclusion criteria, and these are mostly focused on other conditions that are more likely causes of the fatigue. Examples would be untreated sleep apnea, dementia, psychotic disorders etc.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and the Gulf War

Although all sorts of people can suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, it is remarkably likely to hit veterans with Gulf War Exposure.

Experts talk about Persian Gulf syndrome or Gulf War syndrome as a phenomenon where higher numbers of military veterans who served in the Persian Gulf experience unexplained symptoms related to their service. Different theories have been put forward as to the cause of this condition and the related symptoms, including environmental exposures in the region.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is, in some ways, at the top of the list when talking about Persian Gulf syndrome. It is included in common symptoms of the Gulf War syndrome as it's described by clinical professionals. Other common symptoms include digestive issues, skin rash, and cognitive problems like memory loss. Doctors may use checklists or other resources to try to diagnose and define health problems in patients, with available data from medical journals and other sources showing the likelihood of CFS in a situational way.

Evaluating CFS for VA Claims

When it comes to figuring out how CFS affects veterans, certain specific criteria apply. Doctors can essentially measure whether the new onset of chronic fatigue syndrome changes more than 50% of a person's ability to engage in everyday tasks. Doctors may also see if a particular case of CFS meets at least six of several symptom criteria.

Tying CFS to Military Service

In the case of Gulf War exposures, the VA has already established criteria for presumptive service connection. When related to other ailments on a secondary basis tying CFS to military service may benefit from an independent medical opinion (IMO) or “nexus letter.” This type of documentation will show that link between a health condition and a person's military record.

Prestige Worldwide Medical Consulting can help with this process. While we do not treat or diagnose medical conditions we often assist with medical records review and Independent Medical Opinions that can help support a veterans claim for disability. Get in touch if you want to find out more.


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