Our A to Z guide on veterans’ health and medical topics continues here with the letter H. Read on for more information about high blood pressure, health registry evaluations, hearing aids and other VA health subjects that start with H.
Editor’s note: Veteran.com does not provide medical advice or diagnoses. This page contains general information related to common conditions affecting veterans. No information in this guide should replace advice from your health care provider.
High Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is “the force of blood pushing against your blood vessels,” according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when that force is too high.
Unregulated, high can lead to:
- Kidney issues
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Eye problems
Visit your doctor to have your blood pressure checked. People with high blood pressure may not show any symptoms, the VA said. If you have high blood pressure, your doctor may prescribe medication or recommend lifestyle changes, including a healthier diet and exercise.
Is High Blood Pressure Considered a VA Disability?
The VA does not consider high blood pressure to be a disability, but it may consider it to be a secondary condition related to VA-rated disability.
If you believe a service-connected injury or illness caused or aggravated your high blood pressure, talk to a Veteran Service Organization about filing a claim.
VA Disability Rating for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
If your service-connected high blood pressure impacts your ability to work or participate in daily activities, the VA may assign a disability rating of up to 60%, according to the VA’s disability rating schedule.
In a hypertension guide, the Veterans Health Administration recommends ways to prevent and control hypertension.
- Quitting smoking
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Reducing salt in your diet
- Limiting alcohol consumption.
Coupled with medication, many veterans are able to control their hypertension, so the VA evaluates hypertension claims on a case-by-case basis, considering the condition’s severity and symptoms.
The VA will also consider how hypertension interacts with other conditions, and any medication side effects that impact the veteran’s day to day life.
For example, hypertension may cause strokes, which can lead to paralysis. If a veteran has had a stroke, the VA will look at the severity of the stroke and any paralysis the veteran may be experiencing.
VA ratings for hypertension are based on the severity of the hypertension and any resulting symptoms. The maximum disability rating for hypertension is 60%, according to the VA’s disability rating schedule.
How to Get VA Disability for High Blood Pressure
If you are a veteran with high blood pressure and you wish to file for VA disability benefits, you will need to provide medical evidence to support your claim. This evidence can come in the form of a diagnosis from a doctor, medical records and witness statements.
Once you have gathered the necessary documentation, you will need to file a claim with the VA.
To file for benefits, you will need to fill out VA Form 21-0966, Intent to File a Claim for Compensation and/or Pension, or Survivors Pension and/or DIC. You don’t need to do this if you plan to file your claim online. Beginning an online application for disability benefits notifies the VA of your intent to file.
Keep in mind, you must submit your VA claim within one year of your effective date.
You can file your claim online or deliver your completed VA Form 21-526EZ, Application for Disability Compensation and Related Compensation Benefits, by mail or in person at your closest VA regional office.
Address mail-in forms to:
Department of Veterans Affairs
Claims Intake Center
PO Box 4444
Janesville, WI 53547-4444
The VA will then review your case and determine if you qualify for benefits.
Health Registry Evaluation
The Department of Veterans Affairs has a health registry program specifically for veterans who were exposed to environmental hazards during their military service.
Veterans who register can receive a free medical assessment for exposure to:
- Agent Orange
- Burn pits
- Ionizing radiation
- Depleted uraniumHealth assessments are also available to veterans at risk for Gulf War Syndrome and veterans who may have toxic fragments embedded in their body.
To maintain healthy sleep habits, VA health care providers recommend that veterans exercise, keep a balanced diet and avoid alcohol, caffeine and added sugars.
However, not all sleep problems are due to a lack of exercise or other lifestyle choices.
Sleep disorders, like sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome can impact your sleeping patterns. Talk to your VA health care provider if you’re having trouble sleeping. Your doctor may recommend a diagnostic sleep study to identify any disorders impacting your sleep.
If you have a service-connected sleep disorder, talk to a veteran service organization about applying for benefits.
Veterans who are experiencing hearing problems can apply to receive hearing aids through the Department of Veterans Affairs.
You must register with the VA before arranging a hearing evaluation at your local VA’s Audiology and Speech Pathology clinic.
You can register by visiting any VA medical center or clinic, or by submitting a signed VA Form 10-10EZ online or by mail to your nearest VA Medical Center.
Provide a copy of your DD-214, driver’s license and health insurance (if applicable) when you register.
If the VA determines that you need hearing aids, it will issue and maintain a pair for you.
Heat-related injuries include heat exhaustion, heat stroke and extreme sunburn. Such injuries can increase your sensitivity to heat and increase the likelihood of further heat-related problems later in life, according to the VA.
The Department of Veterans Affairs encourages veterans to report heat-related injuries received in the line of duty to the VA. If a heat-related injury is responsible for other health problems, you may be eligible to file for VA disability benefits.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) leads the country in HIV screening, testing, treatment, research and prevention.
According to the VA’s HIV prevention site, HIV takes over certain immune system cells called CD4 cells, or T-cells, which begin to reproduce and weaken When a CD4 cell is taken over by HIV, the cell begins reproducing the virus which weakens the body.
Left untreated, HIV can develop into acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) in its advanced stages. Early HIV treatment can prevent AIDS from ever developing, according to the VA.
Contact the VA to be tested for HIV at any time.
If you contracted HIV during military service, talk to the VA about treatment and eligibility for VA benefits, including healthcare and disability compensation for service-connected HIV-related illnesses.
Hepatitis occurs when the liver becomes inflamed due to various causes, including alcohol use, some medications and contact with bodily fluids of an infected person, according to the VA.
Viruses, including Hepatitis A, B or C, can also cause hepatitis. Vaccines can prevent hepatitis A and B.
Speak to your VA health care provider if you would like to be screened for liver diseases, including hepatitis. If you contracted a chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis B or autoimmune hepatitis as a result of your work in the military, you may be eligible for VA disability compensation.
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