Leah Bucholz sheds light on the intricacies of high blood pressure or hypertension and veterans disability. She explains what hypertension is along with its potential connections to military service.
Hypertension occurs when blood pressure surpasses standard guidelines. The Joint National Committee (JNC) guidelines, provide benchmarks for pre-hypertension, stage one hypertension, and stage two. The numerical values correspond to systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.
- Systolic Hypertension: This occurs when the heart pumps blood under higher pressure, leading to an elevated top number.
- Diastolic Hypertension: This is associated with the heart at rest, filling with blood, and the blood vessels being at rest, resulting in a lower bottom number.
Service Connection for Hypertension
Direct Service Connection
Developing hypertension during active duty, especially if diagnosed within a year to a compensable degree, can facilitate service connection. In 2023, Hypertension was added to the presumptive list for Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.
Secondary Service Connections
There are secondary service connections with conditions like sleep apnea, chronic kidney disease, obesity, orthopedic ailments, NSAID use, and stress that can be related to or aggravate hypertension. These connections create a multifactorial perspective, considering various factors contributing to hypertension.
Ratings for Hypertension
VA’s Schedule for Ratings
Leah directs Veterans to the VA’s Schedule for Ratings, specifically the Cardiovascular System section. Ratings are based on blood pressure readings, with different percentages allocated for varying levels of severity.
Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ)
Leah introduces the Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ), a crucial form filled out during a Compensation and Pension (C&P) exam. There are sections where information about diagnosis, related conditions, history, medications, blood pressure readings, complications, and impact on work is recorded. This form serves as a vital tool in establishing the service connection for hypertension.
Looking Beyond Hypertension
There are also other health issues that can stem from hypertension, such as erectile dysfunction and aortic aneurysms. Veterans should seek for assistance from experts like their treating clinicians or expert medical opinion companies like Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting.
Navigating the complexities of hypertension in the context of Veterans Disability requires a comprehensive understanding of the condition and its potential connections to military service. Leah Bucholz’s insights provide valuable insight for Veterans seeking service connection for hypertension, enabling them to make informed decisions during the disability claims process.
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