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Hiatal Hernia and Weight Gain in Veterans Disability

Hiatal Hernia and Weight Gain in Veterans Disability

Hiatal hernia is a medical condition that involves the upper part of the stomach protruding through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity. This condition often coexists with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), creating a complex medical scenario. Leah will talk about the relationship between hiatal hernia and weight gain in veterans disability. Understanding the causes, symptoms, and potential service connection can provide valuable insights for veterans navigating the complexities of the VA disability system.

What is Hiatal Hernia?

A hiatal hernia occurs when the upper part of the stomach bulges through the diaphragm and into the chest cavity, where it does not belong. Common causes include genetic predisposition, smoking, and a significant factor—weight gain.

Weight gain is identified as a major risk factor for hiatal hernia. Increased intra-abdominal pressure, often associated with obesity, can lead to the displacement of the stomach through the diaphragm. This relationship between hiatal hernia and obesity has significant implications for Veterans Disability, as it may serve as an intermediate link in understanding the progression of related conditions.

Symptoms of Hiatal Hernia

Symptoms of hiatal hernia can vary but often include heartburn, regurgitation of food, difficulty swallowing, chest or abdominal pain, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life and are frequently associated with GERD. Identifying and addressing these symptoms is crucial for both medical treatment and VA disability claims.

Service Connection for Hiatal Hernia

Understanding how hiatal hernia can be service-connected is essential for veterans seeking disability benefits. From a primary service connection standpoint, if a veteran is diagnosed with hiatal hernia during active duty or an incident during service caused the hernia, and the veteran continues to experience symptoms, they may be eligible for service connection. However, it’s crucial to seek advice from accredited legal representatives for precise information.

Secondary Service Connection: The Role of Obesity

In many cases, veterans may experience weight gain as a result of service-connected disabilities, creating a link between obesity and hiatal hernia. Various studies, such as the “Association of Obesity with Hiatal Hernia and Esophagitis,” emphasize that excessive body weight is a significant independent risk factor for hiatal hernia. Exploring this connection may strengthen disability claims.

To support the association between obesity and hiatal hernia, research articles such as “Visceral Fat Obesity is the Key Risk Factor for Development of Reflux Erosive Esophagitis” highlight the key role of obesity in the development of related conditions. Veterans can use such studies to discuss their situation with healthcare providers and seek assistance in documenting the connection for disability claims.

Tying Obesity to Service-Connected Disabilities

Veterans seeking disability benefits can establish a connection between their service-connected disabilities and obesity by demonstrating that their weight gain would not have occurred without the primary condition. Conditions like orthopedic issues limiting exercise, asthma affecting physical activities, or mental health issues contributing to unhealthy eating habits can serve as examples.

Rating System for Hiatal Hernia

Hiatal hernia is generally rated on a scale of 60%, 30%, and 10%, depending on the severity of symptoms. The criteria for each rating involve considerations such as pain, vomiting, weight loss, and their impact on overall health. It’s essential for veterans to understand these rating scales and work with medical professionals to accurately document their condition for the VA disability evaluation process.

Conclusion

Navigating the complexities of Veterans Disability, especially concerning conditions like hiatal hernia and obesity, requires a thorough understanding of the medical aspects and their interconnections. Veterans should work closely with healthcare providers, gather relevant research, and seek legal advice from accredited legal professionals like Veterans Service Officers, Accredited Claims Agents, and/or attorneys when needed to ensure a comprehensive and accurate presentation of their case. By highlighting the links between hiatal hernia, weight gain, and service-connected disabilities, veterans can enhance their chances of securing the disability benefits they deserve.

Also read: How do I get 50% VA disability for migraines?

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.

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In her active-duty service in the United States Navy, Danielle undertook a variety of responsibilities, ranging from essential administrative duties to providing crucial medical care. Her multifaceted contributions played a pivotal role in enhancing her fellow service members’ operational effectiveness and well-being.

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Leticia has been in the medical field for nearly 14 years. She has always had a passion for medicine and caring for her community. Leticia has spent the last 4 years caring for veterans and first responders with alcohol and substance abuse in a medical rehabilitation setting whilst continuing her education working towards a degree in software development.

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Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Julie Pereira

JULIE PEREIRA:

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

During her Active-Duty time in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, Julie provided medical administration
and patient care services in the field, the hospital, and base medical office settings.  This military medical and
administrative background has given Julie the hands-on experience and extensive knowledge necessary to
provide unparalleled service to her fellow Veterans through the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Julie’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Human Services and a pre-nursing associate in arts and science.

Julie has been inspired by her firsthand knowledge of navigating the VA Benefits process. She has dedicated
most of her adult life to serving Veterans through her knowledge derived from her military and civilian medical
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Jennifer Januta

JENNIFER JANUTA

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

During her Active-Duty service in the Army, Jennifer supported various research efforts centered on combat casualty care and Soldier performance. Her military background gave her unique insights into veterans’ distinct challenges, ultimately inspiring her to join the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Jennifer’s educational achievements include a master’s in molecular biology from George Washington University and a master’s in data science from Texas Tech University. Jennifer wholeheartedly dedicates herself to utilizing her knowledge and expertise gained from 15 years of healthcare experience to impact the well-being of those who have served positively.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
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Leah - Meet the Team

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​“It is essential to remember that there is no greater honor than caring for service members on the battlefield. Continuing to care for Veterans after separation is an opportunity that I have been afforded to extend that care in this new battlefield related to service-incurred disabilities.”

Her inspiration comes from years of military experience working alongside her fellow servicemembers, particularly key leaders who have influenced her journey, applying their wisdom to her path. She values her team deeply, most of whom are also disabled combat veterans, each member a trusted individual sharing her vision.

 “Driven by passion and purpose, I aim to create a sustainable change that empowers veterans and future generations.”

Leah’s journey hasn’t been without challenges. From overcoming and living with her service-related disabilities to navigating work-life balance, she’s learned to face each hurdle head-on with resilience.  Like many of her veteran brothers and sisters, her early background consisted of limited resources and opportunities. Her military service has helped shape her into a steadfast leader, offering relatable inspiration to others.

Join us in celebrating Leah, a compassionate leader, and resilient veteran, driving our mission to serve those who served our nation.