Illnesses Among United States Veterans of the Gulf War: : A Population-Based Survey of 30,000 Veterans

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Abstract

Despite numerous studies on veterans of the 1990 to 1991 Gulf War, the fundamental questions of how healthy they are and how their health compares with that of their military peers who were not deployed to the Gulf have not been fully answered. We conducted a health survey in which the health outcomes of a population-based sample of 15,000 Gulf veterans representing various military branches and unit components (regular, reserve, National Guard) were compared with those of 15,000 non-Gulf veterans who were randomly sampled to mirror the number in the same military strata in the Gulf veteran group. In comparison with their peers, Gulf veterans had a higher prevalence of functional impairment, health care utilization, symptoms, and medical conditions and a higher rate of low general health perceptions. A longitudinal follow-up of the health of these veterans will be needed to detect changes in health status and to detect diseases with a long latency period.

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