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Hypertension and PTSD in Veterans Disability

Hypertension and PTSD in Veterans Disability

Hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, is a prevalent health concern, especially among veterans. Leah Bucholz sheds light on the relationship between hypertension and PTSD in veterans disability. Veterans can be service-connected for hypertension and often there is an intricate relationship between hypertension and mental health conditions like PTSD.

Defining Hypertension

Hypertension occurs when the pressure of circulating blood against the blood vessels is higher than the norm, as defined by medical professionals. The World Health Organization classifies high blood pressure based on systolic and diastolic readings. A systolic pressure exceeding 140 or a diastolic pressure over 90 is considered hypertension. Pre-hypertension, falling between 120 and 139 for systolic pressure, or 80 to 89 for diastolic pressure, also warrants attention.

Service Connection for Hypertension

Veterans can be service-connected for high blood pressure through various avenues. If diagnosed while on active duty, individuals may establish a direct service connection. However, a single high reading does not necessarily suffice; a conclusive diagnosis typically requires a series of controlled readings over several days. This cautious approach aims to rule out external factors that may influence blood pressure, such as illness or equipment malfunctions.

Secondary Service Connection

Another route to service connection involves hypertension as a secondary condition related to other health issues. Often another service connected disability may cause or aggravate hypertension. One such example is the intricate relationship between hypertension and mental health, particularly PTSD in many veterans.

When evaluating an individuals hypertension, it can be important to consider both modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors. Non-modifiable factors, such as genetics and age, play a role, but modifiable factors like weight, smoking, diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption, and stress can at times be within an individual’s control.

PTSD and Hypertension

Mental health conditions, particularly PTSD, can contribute significantly to hypertension. There are several studies linking anxiety disorders to increased blood pressure. One such study, titled “Anxiety Disorders, Hypertension, and Cardiovascular Risk: A Review” (International Journal of Psychiatry and Medicine, 2011), highlights the role of psychological stress in raising autonomic arousal, leading to higher blood pressure.

The Impact of PTSD on Blood Pressure

Additional research, including studies like “Hypertension in Relation to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Depression in the U.S. National Co-morbidity Survey” (Behavioral Medicine) and “The Impact of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder on Blood Pressure and Heart Rate in a Veteran Population” (Journal of Traumatic Stress), delves into the relationship between PTSD, depression, and high blood pressure among veterans.

Considering Lifestyle Factors

Leah also addresses the impact of lifestyle choices on hypertension. If obesity, a modifiable risk factor, is connected to another service-connected condition, such as PTSD or depression, it can contribute to hypertension. The link between mental health and lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, is crucial in understanding and establishing service connection for hypertension.

Ratings and Service Connection

Leah Bucholz briefly touches on the ratings associated with hypertension service connection. These ratings are subject to change, and veterans are advised to consult professionals like Veteran Service Officers, accredited claims agents, and attorneys for the most accurate information. However, she outlines potential ratings based on diastolic and systolic readings, emphasizing that even if medications control blood pressure within a normal range, veterans can still be service-connected.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the intricate relationship between hypertension and mental health, especially PTSD, is a critical consideration in the evaluation of veterans’ disability claims. Understanding the various pathways to service connection, the impact of modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors, is crucial for veterans navigating the complex landscape of disability benefits. Seeking professional advice from accredited legal professionals and staying informed about relevant research can empower veterans in their pursuit of rightful compensation and healthcare support.

Also read: Sleep Apnea and Diabetes 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.

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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, PA-C:

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.