What Causes Medically Unexplained Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness (MUCMI)?

Medically Unexplained Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness (MUCMI)

A Medically Unexplained Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness (MUCMI) is a diagnosed condition without a conclusive pathophysiology or etiology that is characterized by clusters of symptoms. Veterans who meet specific criteria can receive VA compensation for their condition.

What are MUCMIs?

MUCMIs are defined by a cluster of signs and symptoms without conclusive pathophysiology or etiology. Pathophysiology is the disruption to the body’s regular function caused by the illness. Etiology is the cause of the illness. MUCMIs are sometimes included in the category “Gulf War Syndrome” or “Gulf War Illness” because their cluster of symptoms may not result from a diagnosable condition and largely affect veterans of the Gulf War.

MUCMI symptoms vary widely and can include:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Joint Pain
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Respiratory Disorders
  • Memory Problems

What Causes a MUCMI?

MUCMIs are medically unexplained, doctors do not know what causes them or why veterans get them. Veterans who served in Southwest Asia may have been exposed to different environmental or chemical hazards that can cause health issues. Some of the possible exposures include:

  • Oil Well Fires. In 1991 Iraqi military forces set fire to hundreds of oil wells in Kuwait. The fires sent clouds of pollutants some of which engulfed U.S. military forces. Health effects include skin irritation, cough, shortness of breath, runny nose, irritation of the eyes nose and throat, and asthma conditions.
  • Depleted Uranium. Depleted uranium was used in U.S military tank armor and bullets during the Gulf War. Veterans may have been exposed to depleted uranium when it became embedded in the muscle or soft tissue. Exposure can also be caused by inhalation or ingestion if the particles become airborne.
  • Sand, Dust, and Particulates. Particulate matter is a mix of small particles and liquid droplets in the air. Veterans who served in the Gulf War were often exposed to particulate matter.

How to Get VA Disability Rating?

MUCMIS are covered under the VA’s statutes and regulations which authorize presumptive service connection for Gulf War veterans. This allows veteran who meet certain requirements obtain service connection for a MUCMI without proving it was caused by their military service.

Getting a Presumptive Service Connection

Gulf War veterans can receive a presumptive service connection for a qualifying chronic disability if they had active military service in the Southwest Asia theater of operations between August 1, 1990 and December 31, 2021. Veteran must experience symptoms for at least 6 months. Countries that fall under the presumption include:

  • Iraq
  • Kuwait
  • Saudi Arabia
  • The neutral zone between Iraq and Saudi Arabia
  • Bahrain
  • Qatar
  • The United Arab Emirates
  • Oman
  • Gulf of Aden
  • Gulf of Oman
  • Waters of the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Sea, and the Red Sea
  • The airspace above any of these locations

Veterans Help Group have been supporting veterans in getting the benefits they deserve since 1995. If you or a loved one served, and suffer from a MUCMI, we are here to help. Call Veterans Help Group at 855-855-8992 or complete our free veterans benefits case evaluation form.


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