Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is a prevalent health concern, especially among veterans. There is often a relationship between Coronary Artery Disease and Obesity in Veterans Disability, particularly in how weight gain serves as an intermediate step. Complexities of CAD, its diagnosis, and the role of obesity in contributing to this condition is a crucial topic to discuss.
Understanding Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease, also known as arteriosclerotic heart disease, is characterized by the narrowing or blockage of arteries around the heart due to the accumulation of plaque and fatty deposits. Veterans can be rated for CAD if diagnosed during active duty or if it is deemed secondary to other medical conditions.
Risk Factors for Coronary Artery Disease
To establish a service connection for coronary artery disease, it’s crucial to consider various risk factors. These include modifiable factors like smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sedentary lifestyle, stress, and physical inactivity. Non-modifiable risk factors include age, family history, and gender.
Secondary Basis for CAD in Veterans
Veterans often seek disability benefits for coronary artery disease on a secondary basis, linking it to other service connected conditions such as hypertension, sleep apnea, and mental health issues like PTSD and depression. Notably, obesity is often identified as an intermediate step in this relationship.
Obesity as an Intermediate Step
Obesity is a well-documented risk factor for coronary artery disease, and its role as an intermediate step in the development of this condition can be significant. Factors contributing to weight gain in veterans may include a sedentary lifestyle, mental health conditions leading to compensatory eating habits, or service-connected disabilities limiting physical activity.
Medical Opinion Letters and Establishing Service Connection
To substantiate a claim for VA disability benefits related to coronary artery disease and obesity, medical opinion letters may play a crucial role. While these letters are never required, they can at times prove helpful. They can be obtained for little to no cost from a veterans treating provider or from an expert company like Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting. These letters must clearly state that the weight gain or obesity is a direct result of or aggravated by the service-connected condition. The language used should emphasize that the condition would not have occurred but for the weight gain caused by the service-connected disability.
Literature Supporting the Connection
Several articles contribute valuable insights into the relationship between weight gain and chronic diseases, serving as essential references for medical opinion letters. Examples include “Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases” and “Reducing calorie intake may not help you lose body weight.” Veterans can use these articles to support their claims and encourage their healthcare providers to include relevant information in medical opinion letters.
Rating System for CAD
Understanding the rating system for coronary artery disease is vital for veterans seeking disability benefits. The Metabolic Equivalents (METs) system assesses the functional capacity of individuals based on their workload. Ratings range from 10% to 100%, considering factors such as dyspnea, angina, fatigue, and congestive heart failure. Veterans should be aware of these ratings to better understand how their condition may be evaluated by the VA.
Coronary Artery Disease and obesity in the context of VA disability claims require careful consideration of various factors. Veterans should work closely with their healthcare providers to establish a clear link between service-connected conditions, weight gain, and the development of CAD. By utilizing relevant literature and medical opinion letters, veterans may strengthen the support for their claims and at times improve their chances of obtaining the disability benefits they deserve. Understanding the nuances of the rating system with the assistance of an accredited legal professional like a veterans service officer, accredited claims agent or attorney can further empower veterans to navigate the complexities of the VA disability process successfully.
At Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting, a veteran-owned company, we specialize in Independent Medical Opinions (IMOs) known as Nexus letters.
Our purpose is to empower YOU, the veteran, to take charge of your medical evidence and provide you with valuable educational tools and research to guide you on your journey.
Understanding the unique challenges veterans face, our commitment lies in delivering exceptional service and support.
Leveraging an extensive network of licensed independent medical professionals, all well-versed in the medical professional aspects of the VA claims process, we review the necessary medical evidence to incorporate in our reports related to your VA Disability Claim.
Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting is not a law firm, accredited claims agent, or affiliated with the Veterans Administration or Veterans Services Organizations. However, we are happy to discuss your case with your accredited VA legal professional.