For many veterans, the journey through the complexities of disability claims involves grappling with not only physical health conditions but also the intricate interplay between physical and mental health. One such intersection is the relationship between GERD and PTSD in veterans disability. Leah analyzes the definition of GERD, its symptoms, and explores the evidence linking it to mental health disorders, particularly PTSD, in the context of veterans’ disability claims.
What is GERD?
GERD, or Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease, is a condition characterized by the malfunction of the esophageal sphincter, leading to the improper functioning of this muscular ring between the esophagus and stomach. This dysfunction allows stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus, causing a range of symptoms. These symptoms may include heartburn, coughing, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and stomachaches. It’s important to note that not all individuals with GERD will experience the same symptoms.
Connecting GERD to Military Service
Regarding Gastroesophageal reflux disease and its relation to military service, if a person is diagnosed with GERD during their service and receives treatment, the continuity of the condition post-separation could be grounds for a service connection. This means that if the condition persists after leaving the service, it may be considered as related to the veteran’s time in active duty. It is always best to follow up with an accredited legal professional to help analyze the intricacies of the claims process.
Additionally, Gastroesophageal reflux disease can be connected to other service-connected conditions on a secondary basis. For instance, anti-inflammatory use and other factors can contribute to the aggravation or worsening of GERD. Veterans should explore the possibility of service connection with their healthcare providers, including gastroenterologists, primary care doctors, and the Veterans Affairs (VA).
The Link Between GERD and Mental Health Disorders
In the realm of mental health, particularly PTSD, there is substantial evidence suggesting a connection between emotional states and esophageal motility. One study, titled “Measuring the Effects of Emotions on Esophageal Motility,” published in Psychosomatic Medicine, delves into the relationship between emotional states and esophageal motor function. The study recorded esophageal motility during psychiatric interviews, revealing a significant association between emotionally charged material and non-propulsive activity in the esophagus, observed consistently in about 40 percent of the subjects.
Another article, “Non-Propulsive Esophageal Contractions and Gastroesophageal Reflux,” published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, adds to the body of evidence. Moreover, the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology published a study exploring the association between GERD, sleep quality, depression, and anxiety. These studies collectively highlight the intricate connection between mental health and GERD.
GERD and Coexisting Conditions
Veterans often question whether they can be rated for both GERD and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) simultaneously. Specific ratings for these conditions may not always be separated as they can be intertwined due to symptoms overlapping or pyramiding. Typically, the VA may provide the higher of the two ratings when conditions coexist. Veterans should seek clarification on this matter from their legal representatives, emphasizing the uniqueness of each case.
When navigating the complexities of veterans’ disability claims, understanding the connection between GERD and mental health disorders, particularly PTSD, is crucial. Veterans should proactively engage with their healthcare providers and legal representatives to explore the potential for service connection and appropriate compensation. The evolving landscape of disability ratings necessitates staying informed and seeking professional guidance to ensure fair and accurate evaluations tailored to the unique circumstances of each veteran.
Also read: Anxiety and Tinnitus in Veterans Disability
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.