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Hypertension and Agent Orange Exposure in Veterans Disability

Hypertension and Agent Orange Exposure in Veterans Disability

Hypertension has long been a concern for veterans, especially those who served in Vietnam and were exposed to Agent Orange. The recent approval of hypertension as a service-connected disability under the PACT Act marks a significant milestone in addressing the health concerns of veterans who have been battling this condition for years. Leah explores the relationship between hypertension and Agent Orange exposure, the implications of the recent approval, and some of the medical aspects involved.

The PACT Act and Service Connection

The approval of hypertension as a presumed service-connected disability for Agent Orange exposure is a crucial development. For years, veterans suffering from hypertension sought recognition for their condition, attributing it to exposure during their service in Vietnam. The PACT Act’s acknowledgment of this link is a monumental win for veterans, opening the door to disability benefits that are rightfully deserved.

Understanding Hypertension

Before talking about the specifics of Agent Orange exposure, it’s essential to understand hypertension. Defined by a systolic blood pressure of 140 or above or a diastolic blood pressure of 90 or above, hypertension is a serious medical condition. It is often diagnosed through sustained elevated blood pressure levels, requiring careful monitoring and, in some cases, medication.

Presumptive Agent Orange Conditions

Hypertension now joins a list of presumptive Agent Orange conditions, allowing veterans meeting specific parameters to be granted service connection more easily. This development is part of ongoing efforts to recognize and address the health issues resulting from Agent Orange exposure. While nexus letters—medical opinion letters—are not required for and service connections, those conditions considered presumptive in nature generally have a nexus established by way of a veteran serving in a specific location at a specific time.

Several research studies have explored the association between Agent Orange exposure and hypertension. One such study, “Herbicide Exposure, Vietnam Service, and Hypertension Risk in Army Chemical Corps Veterans,” published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine in 2016, analyzed 3086 veterans to investigate this relationship. The results were significant, reinforcing the need for recognition of hypertension as a service-connected disability.

Another study, “Cytochrome P450 1A1 is Required for Vascular Dysfunction and Hypertension Induced by 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-Dioxin,” published in Toxicological Sciences in 2010, analyzes the molecular mechanisms linking herbicide exposure to vascular dysfunction and hypertension. These studies provide valuable insights for veterans and healthcare professionals seeking to understand and address the health impacts of Agent Orange exposure.

Rating and Compensation for Hypertension

The compensation for hypertension is outlined in the 38 Code of Federal Regulations. The ratings range from 0% to 60%, with the severity of hypertension determining the assigned rating. For example, a 10% rating is assigned if the diastolic or systolic pressure falls within a certain range, and the ratings increase based on the severity of the condition. Medication management can also be considered in determining the appropriate compensation level.

Conclusion

The recognition of hypertension as a service-connected disability for veterans exposed to Agent Orange is a significant step forward in addressing the health concerns of those who served in Vietnam. The PACT Act’s approval brings hope and relief to many veterans who have long struggled with hypertension. As more conditions are added to presumptive lists, it is crucial to continue research and advocacy efforts to ensure that veterans receive the disability benefits they rightfully deserve. The journey toward comprehensive recognition and support for veterans exposed to Agent Orange continues, and the approval of hypertension as a service-connected disability is a noteworthy achievement in this ongoing battle.

Also read: What to Expect in a Plantar Fasciitis C&P Exam

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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Danielle McClaskey

Client Relations Specialist U.S. Navy Veteran

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.

As a disabled veteran, she developed a profound understanding of the unique challenges faced by her fellow service members. Now, in her civilian role, Danielle is a valued member of the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team, where she continues to leverage her extensive background and educational achievements to provide exceptional support to veterans.

Leticia

LETICIA

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

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.

Someday she hopes to develop medical software that further enhances the patient’s experience in medical care. Leticia has a deep respect and love for those who have served as she comes from a family of law enforcement and military veterans.

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
education and training.

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
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Leah - Meet the Team

LEAH BUCHOLZ, PA-C

U.S ARMY VETERAN, MEDICAL EXPERT & FORMER C & P EXAMINER

Meet Leah, the founder, and leader of our organization. ​​A combat veteran herself, she understands the unique challenges veterans face, making her mission about much more than running a successful business. It’s about the opportunity to provide a legacy of exceptional service for our heroes.​

​“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.