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Table 2 Summary of self-reported symptoms/diseases by deployment (ordered by frequency of reported ill health categories among GWV)

From: Self-reported ill health in male UK Gulf War veterans: a retrospective cohort study

Self-reported symptom Frequency (%) GWV vs. NGWV
  GWV1(n = 23,358)2 NGWV1(n = 17,730)2 Adjusted odds ratio 3 (95% CI)
All reporting ≥ 1 new symptom/disease since 1990 14,174 2 (60.7) 6,505 2 (36.7) 2.7 (2.5–2.8)***
Mental and behavioural disorders 4,691 (20.1) 634 (3.6) 6.7 (6.1–7.3)***
   Memory loss / lack of concentration 1,883 (7.9) 76 (0.4) 19.6 (15.5–24.8)***
   Mood swings / aggression / irritability 1,712 (7.3) 62 (0.4) 20.9 (16.2–27.0)***
   Anxiety / stress / sleep disturbance 1,212 (5.2) 272 (1.5) 3.4 (3.0–3.9)***
   Depression 1,005 (4.3) 203 (1.1) 3.6 (3.1–4.2)***
   PTSD and associated symptoms (mentioned specifically) 231 (1.0) 68 (0.4) 2.4 (1.8–3.1)***
   Sexual dysfunction / lack of sex drive 192 (0.8) 35 (0.2) 4.6 (3.2–6.6)***
   Other psychiatric / psychological disorders NOS4 380 (1.6) 65 (0.4) 3.9 (3.0–5.1)***
Musculo-skeletal & connective tissue disorders 3,807 (16.3) 2,387 (13.5) 1.2 (1.2–1.3)***
   Skeletal & other muscular symptoms 3,523 (15.1) 2,346 (13.2) 1.1 (1.1–1.2)***
   Muscular pain / weakness (mentioned specifically) 460 (2.0) 77 (0.4) 4.5 (3.5–5.7)***
Other symptoms NOS 4 3,058 (13.1) 1,146 (6.5) 2.2 (2.0–2.3)***
Fatigue 2,632 (11.3) 236 (1.3) 9.1 (8.0–10.5)***
   General fatigue 2,532 (10.8) 215 (1.2) 9.6 (8.3–11.1)***
   Chronic fatigue syndrome / ME (mentioned specifically) 100 (0.4) 21 (0.1) 3.5 (2.1–5.5)***
Nervous system disorders 2,104 (9.0) 435 (2.5) 3.8 (3.4–4.2)***
   Headaches 1,554 (6.7) 280 (1.6) 4.2 (3.7–4.8)***
   Numbness / tingling / dizziness 460 (2.0) 93 (0.5) 3.6 (2.9–4.6)***
   Epilepsy 53 (0.2) 21 (0.1) 1.6 (1.0–2.7)
   Other neurological and neuromuscular problems NOS4 217 (0.9) 68 (0.4) 2.4 (1.8–3.1)***
Infection 1,898 (8.1) 606 (3.4) 2.5 (2.3–2.7)***
   Chronic / frequent infection 1,351 (5.8) 278 (1.6) 3.8 (3.3–4.3)***
   Single episodes of acute infection 635 (2.7) 351 (2.0) 1.4 (1.2–1.6)***
Skin allergies 1,782 (7.6) 414 (2.3) 3.3 (3.0–3.7)***
Respiratory disorders 1,468 (6.3) 569 (3.2) 2.0 (1.8–2.2)***
   Asthma 608 (2.6) 374 (2.1) 1.2 (1.1–1.4)**
   Respiratory problems NOS4 898 (3.8) 204 (1.2) 3.3 (2.9–3.9)***
Digestive, stomach & intestinal disorders 1,377 (5.9) 538 (3.0) 2.0 (1.8–2.2)***
Deterioration in general health 852 (3.7) 510 (2.9) 1.3 (1.1–1.4)***
   General deterioration of eyesight / hearing 582 (2.5) 465 (2.6) 1.0 (0.8–1.1)
   General decline in fitness / health 280 (1.2) 48 (0.3) 4.4 (3.2–6.0)***
Cardiovascular disorders 675 (2.9) 442 (2.5) 1.3 (1.1–1.4)***
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic disorders 624 (2.7) 210 (1.2) 2.2 (1.9–2.6)***
   Hormonal imbalance / problems 70 (0.3) 38 (0.2) 1.5 (1.0–2.2)
   Diabetes 57 (0.2) 64 (0.4) 0.7 (0.5–1.0)
   Weight gain / loss 504 (2.2) 109 (0.6) 3.4 (2.7–4.1)***
Genito-urinary system disorders 464 (2.0) 198 (1.1) 1.8 (1.5–2.1)***
   Genital system & bladder problems5 276 (1.2) 99 (0.6) 2.2 (1.7–2.7)***
   Kidney disease / symptoms 209 (0.9) 103 (0.6) 1.5 (1.2–1.9)**
Chest pains / tightness (not elsewhere classified) 399 (1.7) 134 (0.8) 2.2 (1.8–2.6)***
Allergies other than skin 369 (1.6) 161 (0.9) 1.8 (1.5–2.1)***
Night sweats / excessive sweating / "fevers" 315 (1.4) 23 (0.1) 9.9 (6.5–15.2)***
Accidental injury 294 (1.3) 460 (2.6) 0.5 (0.4–0.5)***
Auto-immune disease 241 (1.0) 196 (1.1) 1.0 (0.8–1.2)
Cancer 6 127 (0.5) 88 (0.5) 1.1 (0.9–1.5)
  1. 1Subject can appear in the table as many times as they reported different symptoms. More than one symptom within a group in the same subject counted once only. Number of symptoms in sub-groups may not add up to group total if more than one symptom was recorded within the group for the same subject. 2Denominators and number of veterans reporting ≥ 1 new symptom/disease since 1990 are different to the numbers reported in Table 1 as some respondents did not give specific details of their symptoms/diseases and could not therefore be included in this table. 3Adjusted for age at survey, service and rank at time of Gulf war, serving status at time of survey, alcohol consumption and smoking. 4Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) 5Category includes those reporting 'burning semen' GWV 13 (0.1%); NGW 1 (0.0%) 6Includes all reported malignant neoplasms, plus all reported brain tumours, benign or malignant. * 0.01 < p < 0.05 ** 0.001 < p < 0.01 *** p < 0.001