Skip to main content

Table 3 Summary of self-reported symptoms/diseases among GWV by GWS status (ordered by frequency of reported ill health categories among GWS)

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

Self-reported symptom Frequency (%) Adjusted2 odds ratio (95% CI)
  GWS1
(n = 1,296)
unsure-GWS1
(n = 9,443)
non-GWS1
(n= 12,364)
GWS vs non-GWS unsure GWS vs. non-GWS
All reporting ≥ 1 new symptom /disease since 1990 1,260 (97.2) 7,929 (84.0) 4,830 (39.1) 48.2 (34.5–67.4)*** 8.0 (7.5–8.6)***
Mental and behavioural disorders 775 (59.8) 3,076 (32.6) 793 (6.4) 18.3 (15.9–21.0)*** 6.6 (6.0–7.1)***
   Memory loss / lack of concentration 295 (22.8) 1,249 (13.2) 274 (2.2) 12.1 (10.0–14.7)*** 6.6 (5.7–7.5)***
   Mood swings / aggression / irritability 327 (25.2) 1,147 (12.2) 214 (1.7) 16.1 (13.2–19.7)*** 6.9 (5.9–8.0)***
   Anxiety / stress / sleep disturbance 220 (17.0) 769 (8.1) 213 (1.7) 10.8 (8.7–13.5)*** 4.7 (4.1–5.6)***
   Depression 245 (18.9) 613 (6.5) 137 (1.1) 16.1 (12.7–20.4)*** 5.5 (4.5–6.6)***
   PTSD and associated symptoms (mentioned specifically) 91 (7.0) 116 (1.2) 21 (0.2) 34.9 (20.8–58.7)*** 6.4 (4.0–10.5)***
   Sexual dysfunction / lack of sex drive 42 (3.2) 123 (1.3) 27 (0.2) 13.1 (7.7–22.3)*** 6.4 (4.2–9.9)***
   Other psychiatric / psychological disorders NOS3 93 (7.2) 237 (2.5) 47 (0.4) 14.7 (10.0–21.7)*** 5.7 (4.1–7.9)***
Musculo-skeletal & connective tissue disorders 500 (38.6) 2,118 (22.4) 1,156 (9.4) 5.3 (4.6–6.1)*** 2.6 (2.4–2.9)***
   Skeletal & other muscular symptoms 441 (34.0) 1,944 (20.6) 1,107 (9.0) 4.5 (3.9–5.2)*** 2.5 (2.3–2.7)***
   Muscular pain / weakness (mentioned specifically) 122 (9.4) 265 (2.8) 68 (0.6) 16.2 (11.7–22.5)*** 5.1 (3.9–6.7)***
Fatigue 462 (35.7) 1,742 (18.5) 397 (3.2) 15.4 (13.1–18.2)*** 6.9 (6.1–7.7)***
   General fatigue 405 (31.3) 1,707 (18.1) 389 (3.2) 13.1 (11.1–15.5)*** 6.8 (6.1–7.7)***
   Chronic fatigue syndrome / ME (mentioned specifically) 57 (4.4) 35 (0.4) 8 (0.1) 65.3 (29.4–145.1)*** 6.1 (2.8–13.5)***
Other symptoms NOS 3 407 (31.4) 1,720 (18.2) 908 (7.3) 5.4 (4.7–6.3)*** 2.8 (2.6–3.1)***
Nervous system disorders 373 (28.8) 1,284 (13.6) 415 (3.4) 10.0 (8.4–11.8)*** 4.1 (3.6–4.6)***
   Headaches 266 (20.5) 958 (10.2) 308 (2.5) 8.7 (7.2–10.6)*** 3.9 (3.4–4.5)***
   Numbness / tingling / dizziness 101 (7.8) 270 (2.9) 82 (0.7) 9.4 (6.8–12.9)*** 4.0 (3.1–5.2)***
   Epilepsy 12 (0.9) 30 (0.3) 9 (0.1) 13.0 (5.0–34.1)*** 3.5 (1.6–7.5)**
   Other neurological and neuromuscular problems NOS3 61 (4.7) 114 (1.2) 36 (0.3) 14.3 (9.1–22.5)*** 4.2 (2.8–6.2)***
Skin allergies 242 (18.7) 994 (10.5) 531 (4.3) 4.9 (4.1–5.9)*** 2.5 (2.3–2.8)***
Digestive, stomach & intestinal disorders 194 (15.0) 813 (8.6) 355 (2.9) 5.5 (4.5–6.7)*** 3.2 (2.8–3.7)***
Respiratory disorders 194 (15.0) 860 (9.1) 400 (3.2) 5.1 (4.2–6.2)*** 3.0 (2.6–3.4)***
   Asthma 71 (5.5) 342 (3.6) 188 (1.5) 3.8 (2.8–5.1)*** 2.5 (2.1–3.0)***
   Respiratory problems NOS3 128 (9.9) 540 (5.7) 222 (1.8) 5.6 (4.4–7.2)*** 3.2 (2.7–3.8)***
Infection 164 (12.7) 1,102 (11.7) 609 (4.9) 2.9 (2.4–3.5)*** 2.6 (2.4–2.9)***
   Chronic / frequent infection 122 (9.4) 842 (8.9) 372 (3.0) 3.5 (2.8–4.4)*** 3.3 (2.9–3.7)***
   Single episodes of acute infection 55 (4.2) 319 (3.4) 253 (2.1) 2.2 (1.6–3.0)*** 1.8 (1.5–2.1)***
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic disorders 116 (9.0) 366 (3.9) 134 (1.1) 7.4 (5.6–9.8)*** 3.4 (2.8–4.2)***
   Hormonal imbalance / problems 14 (1.1) 36 (0.4) 20 (0.2) 7.0 (3.3–14.8)*** 2.4 (1.4–4.2)***
   Diabetes 8 (0.6) 29 (0.3) 20 (0.2) 3.3 (1.4–7.9)*** 2.0 (1.1–3.6)*
   Weight gain / loss 95 (7.3) 306 (3.2) 95 (0.8) 8.0 (5.8–10.9)*** 3.9 (3.1–4.9)***
Deterioration in general health 92 (7.1) 494 (5.2) 256 (2.1) 3.2 (2.5–4.2)*** 2.5 (2.1–2.9)***
   General deterioration of eyesight / hearing 53 (4.1) 310 (3.3) 212 (1.7) 2.2 (1.6–3.0)*** 1.9 (1.5–2.2)***
   General decline in fitness / health 41 (3.2) 191 (2.0) 45 (0.4) 8.3 (5.1–13.5)*** 5.7 (4.1–8.0)***
Cardiovascular disorders 90 (6.9) 344 (3.6) 237 (1.9) 3.8 (2.9–5.0)*** 2.1 (1.8–2.5)***
Genito-urinary system disorders 77 (5.9) 238 (2.5) 143 (1.2) 5.3 (3.9–7.2)*** 2.3 (1.8–2.8)***
   Genital system & bladder problems4 46 (3.6) 150 (1.6) 79 (0.6) 6.1 (4.0–9.2)*** 2.7 (2.0–3.6)***
   Kidney disease / symptoms 35 (2.7) 101 (1.1) 68 (0.6) 4.4 (2.8–6.9)*** 1.9 (1.4–2.6)***
Night sweats / excessive sweating / "fevers" 77 (5.9) 185 (2.0) 49 (0.4) 13.7 (9.2–20.2)*** 4.7 (3.4–6.5)***
Chest pains / tightness (not elsewhere classified) 56 (4.3) 253 (2.7) 87 (0.7) 5.5 (3.8–7.9)*** 3.3 (2.6–4.3)***
Auto-immune disease 37 (2.9) 136 (1.4) 64 (0.5) 5.2 (3.3–8.1)*** 2.8 (2.1–3.8)***
Allergies other than skin 31 (2.4) 197 (2.1) 136 (1.1) 2.7 (1.8–4.1)*** 2.2 (1.7–2.8)***
Cancer 5 19 (1.5) 61 (0.7) 42 (0.3) 5.1 (2.8–9.2)*** 2.3 (1.5–3.4)***
Accidental injury 14 (1.1) 128 (1.4) 146 (1.2) 0.9 (0.5–1.5) 1.1 (0.8–1.4)
  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. 2Adjusted for age at survey, service and rank at time of Gulf war, serving status at time of survey, alcohol consumption and smoking. 3Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) 4Category includes those reporting 'burning semen' GWS 6 (0.5%); unsure-GWS 5 (0.1%); non-GWS 2 (0.0%) 5Includes 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