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Heart Disease


goofycow

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Hi:

How does the VA rate heart disease for disability purposes? I have high blood pressure, top number constantly in the 150-160 range while on BP medication, bottom number normal. Calcified plaque also showed up in a major artery in abdomen while they were doing x-rays of lower back. Is there anywhere I can go to find out how VA rates these conditions? I am also rated 70% for major depressive disorder.

Thanks

Liz

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Guest jangrin
Hi:

How does the VA rate heart disease for disability purposes? I have high blood pressure, top number constantly in the 150-160 range while on BP medication, bottom number normal. Calcified plaque also showed up in a major artery in abdomen while they were doing x-rays of lower back. Is there anywhere I can go to find out how VA rates these conditions? I am also rated 70% for major depressive disorder.

Thanks

Liz

Hi goofycow,

Go to the following link. Then go to 38 CFR part 4, then scroll down to subpart B. Once there scroll down to cardiovascular and look in the schedule of ratings. You can then compare your symptoms to their rating schedule and sort of determine what your % of disbility should be. You can do this for almost any body part or disease process or debilitating condition. I hope this helps good luck to you.

http://www.vba.va.gov/bln/21/Reference/

Jangrin :(

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Guest jstacy

Liz, Please make an appointment with a board certified cardiologist ASAP. You need a Heart cath to tell the extent of the disease. The VA is OK to have this done but I prefer to go outside. If you can you need to have this checked. Coronary artery disease is dangerous.

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Hi Jangiun:

That is exactly what I am looking for. I used your link & found the ratings. But my eyes glazed over at all those 50 cent medical terms :(

This problem was discovered when I underwent a physical exam as part of a C & P for PTSD at the end of 2002. All VA has done for me is prescribe zocor & small doses of blood pressure medication on & off, mainly off. No further tests were ever given.

Liz

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Guest jangrin

goofycow,

Your welcome, glad to be of help. Has you doctor checked you for DMII (diabetes). Lots of times high blood pressure is an indication of DMII and this is also a known precursor to heart disease.

Also since you found calcium in the x-ray (abdominal) you might want to go to your local imaging center and have them due a CT scan of your heart and aorta. The VA doesn't do this screening yet.

It's not real expensive any more you can shop around for pricing on this Explain about the calcium on your x-ray and your history of HBP and why you want this to screen for possible heart calcium (atherosclerousis).

You will need to start some medications if in fact you have the building up of calcium in your arteries. Do not wait on this, it's is easier to stop the process from getting worse but very difficult if not impossible to reverse.

I don't know how old you are, but this also occurs in the ageing process, but it can and should be treated to keep this under control as much as possible, non the less.

Jangrin :(

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Guest jstacy

There is a chance if you need a certain test the VA will send you out to private facility to do it. They did it for me last year. Ask your primary care physician to refer to cardiology and the Specialist may help. My guess is that with calcifications, he will want to do a Thallium study and maybe a Heart cath. A heart cath is done under a scanner and it is the only true way to diagnose heart / Artery disease.

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Guest jangrin

Jstacy,

I agree about the heart cath, however, it was my husbands recent experience with the VA that they will not do the heart cath, unless the perfusion test shows SERIOUS abnormal function . Simply suspecting calcium, or even angina, is not sufficient at the VAMC where we live.

The cardiologist stated if you have a heart cath done, the cardiac surgeon, will want to perform some type of procedure on your heart. He said that surgery would not improve my husbands quality of life right now so he would not authorize the heart cath. He would only recommend the "GoLD STANDARD" heart cath if my husband had a sudden heart attack or servere angina that his nitro tabs were unable to releave the pain.

This was in direct conflict with the VA primary care doc and two private radiologists/. My husband had a calcium score determined by the CT heart scan of >1700 (400 is considered extremely high). He also had a positve "abnormal needing attention"perfusion test and has been using nitro for past 8 months. Specialist still will not order heart cath. To everyones shear amazement, only medications.

Simply suspecting a problem , may not be enough. But waiting and doing nothing can be very costly and quite frankly dangerous. I would do what ever I had to do to find out exactly what is going on with the calcium problem. The 84 slice CT scan is being used to screen men and women in their 40's for excess calcium and get them started early on medication that can help block calcium build up in their arteries, before they become victims of a heart attack. Most people don't even know that this is going on because there usually is no pain involved, thats why they call this disease the "silent Killer".

I hope this give you some food for thought. Having just recently had to go through all this with my husband makes me want to help others so they don't have to worry so much. Sorry... so long winded...

Good luck to you

Jangrin :(

Jangrin :blink:

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Guest jstacy

Jangrin, does your husband have insurance? It sounds like the VA is wasting your time. I would go outside to a Cardiac Fellow, Does not have to be a surgeon. Serious issues do not need to seen at the VA.

Mass production medicine is OK but not in this case.

There are several factors for a Doctor to order a cath.

1: Angina

2: Medical History

3: Family history

I had the perfusion test at the VA last year and they said it was normal.

I went outside for a second opinion and to my suprise, Nothing was normal.

I also take nitrates.

If he goes outside and you find the extent of the heart disease and it is found by a Cardiac Cath and The VA refused to do one, Then you may have a 1151 claim.

Do not put too much faith in diagnostic testing such as cat scans. The 84 slice scan can see allot of stuff but it is nowhere near as accurate as a cath. I know first hand about this issue. The wife does cat scans.

The Bottom line is this, If you cannot get answers from the VA, Then go somewhere else. It may just save your life.

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I cannot agree more-

This is why my husband now resides at the VA cemetery-and no longer on our beautiful hill in NY-

I believed the VA in 1992 when their head cardiologist at Syracuse told me nothing was wrong with Rod's heart. Two years later he was dead due to advanced heart disease.

Not only can the VA misdiagnose and fail to treat serious conditions, but they also can lie.

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My opinion is that if you wait to see a heart attack you probably will be dealing with a lot of new problems you should have avoided in the first place.

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Guest anfrnkie
My opinion is that if you wait to see a heart attack you probably will be dealing with a lot of new problems you should have avoided in the first place.
,on my smr from navy,it is listed o have a heart condition,but navy states it does not show up in navy, stated old condition,i was in air force before navy ,have no smr from air force,in 1993 i have a c/p exam, the heart condition shows up again doctor ,states the same thing navy does,va never informed me of this condition,to top it all off,i don,t have a heart condition never did and ekg taken will prove this.so i filed a cue,under law va must grant me this benifit.
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Guest jangrin

I totaly agree with all of you. As Berta knows from my posts over the past few months this is the way it is. My husband does not have insurance. So we are stuck with the VA and trying to work within the system. It has been very stressful. Unfortunately, the VA is not into preventional medicine. We have gone outside and we know pretty much exactly where the blockages are we have his heart on 3-D images. The VA cardiologist would not even put the CD in the computer and look at it. He said they don't pay too much attention to those things just the report.

The reports are now in the hands of Dr. Bash because this is his specialty. Hopfully my husband will be able to recieve SSD soon and then he will be eligible for some care, and hopefully we won't loose our house over medical bills. My husband is a proud man and he will not take welfare. So we are in the process of selling our home so we can hire a doctor and pay for an angiogram. The problem is if something goes wrong and he has to have a heart surgery at the time of the angiogram financially we are not in the position to pay those expenses and we would loose everything through a bankruptcy. So for us it's a catch22 and we have to work within the VA system.

Thats why for people who just happen to see calcium in an x-ray were it doesn't belong, need to get the CT scan because VA won't check unless someone is in great pain or in an emergency situation.

Thanks alot for your imput and concern, we have found that all of you at hadit are really the people who have been the most supportive to us during this really tough time in our lives. Thanks bunches. We truly have taken to heart your advise and have applied what we have learned here to our siruation as much as possible. I just wished VA worked a little faster.

Jangrin :(

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My husband too suffers from CAD. He had a quadruple by-pass in 1997. He has always had an outside cardiologist. He was having problems about 6 months ago and went to urgent care at the VA(he works there too), the very young Indian dr. did an EKG and said he thought his pain was from his scar tissue from the heart surgery....Of course he went to the outside cardiologist who said that was no such a thing, the kid didn't know what he was talking about. If you can always go outside for main issues. I think the VA relies way too much on young medical drs and NOT specialist..

Sbewer

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Guest jangrin

It is really a shame that we live in the United States of America, and there are people who live here that do NOT have health care and can not afford 1500.00 a month or more for a family of 3 for major medical. It is sad that we have to choose our health over our homes. My husband has made the decision to work within the VA system, because that allows him to keep a roof (even temporaily) over his families head rather than give everything he's worked for all his live to pay for medical bills.

He has always worked and now that he cannot, he is faced with loosing his house and home and family security in order to recieve care. He would rather die than risk his family living on the streets. So I am doing what I can to help him work through the VA maze to get his due compensation and his SSD and maybe just maybe he will be able to see his grandchildren grow up. But things are moving really slow.

Thank God for people like BERTA and T-BIRD, JOHn999, CARLI, and ALL the others here at Hadit, because when people finally find you all and come here and post thier question, this may be the last resort. And to be honest when I first posted here and Berta replied, it changed our lives and our fututre. You never know when you might be giving someone hope. So we may disagree at times, but we all want the best results for each other. So thanks to all of you for your help.

Jangrin :(

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Jangrin:

Yes, it is sad that health care takes such a bite from a persons assets. I am also eligible for TRI-CARE, but where I live very few doctors/hospitals honor that insurance. Then there's VA. I have had trouble getting care for my major depression & other ailments since I moved back to Arkansas. However, I do get great care at the VA eye clinic in Fayetteville.

You asked me in another post if VA had ever checked me for diabetes. If i am to believe the lab tebs, all my blood sugar, glucose are well within normal limits. Although it is a wonder I don't have type II diabetes. I am grossly obese!

However, like most, I don't get that great of care at VA mental health. In fact dealing with those people has made me even more depressed!! I am certainly more paranoid than ever.

Liz

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