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Agent Orange Exposure Symptoms


Getting ready to file a new claim for Agent Orange symptoms for my Vietnam Vet brother who was on the ground as USMC rifleman for 9 months, until he was WIA by a grenade booby trap.   He was found to have hypertension and his USMC ENTRY physical showed him ineligible to serve -- then they gave him 3 more blood pressure tests and someone scratched threw the 'hypertension' and said ELIGIBLE to serve.   His USMC exit physical after recovering from his wounds in 1970 also showed hypertension.   In 2008, a physical showed hypertension, along with abnormal EKG with doctor's notes indicating cardio infarction and possible A-fib.  I just had a private doctor give him a physical last week and he's diagnosed again with hypertension, and EKG abnormalities, with a referral to a cardiologist.   I am still waiting for a copy of his C&P physical exam from April.   Is this enough to claim IHD?   There is no time limit (from date of discharge) to file for IHD from Agent Orange right ?  Also awaiting blood work / diabetes screening and Diabetes Type II claim may be in order as well.  Any suggestions / guidance is greatly appreciated. 


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"Is this enough to claim IHD?   There is no time limit (from date of discharge) to file for IHD from Agent Orange right ?  "

 "I just had a private doctor give him a physical last week and he's diagnosed again with hypertension, and EKG abnormalities, with a referral to a cardiologist. "

If the cardio doc diagnoses him with IHD, make sure you send VA with the IHD claim, the results of the Cardio testing.The cardio doc might give him an ECHO and that could reveal ischemic heart disease.


Was the Hypertension formally claimed? It appears that he does have a good service nexus to the HBP.

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Thank you for responding Berta - I know you have great knowledge with this.    IHD, Diabetes II, and hypertension were included in his 'statement' in last claim.   VA said it was not on a prescribed form, and they considered it a 'request for application'.   Also said if he wants to file a claim for those conditions, complete 21-526 EZ.      

I can't find anything to show where VA recognizes hypertension linked to Agent Orange exposure.  I saw where they studied it but still haven't added it to the list of 15 presumptive conditions.   Is hypertension as a stand-alone symptom claimable and/or can it be attributed as an IHD symptom without a formal IHD diagnosis ?   Cardio doc tests will obviously reveal more -- would just like to know in the interim so I can formally send in claim now with documentation to follow. 

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No , HBP is not associated with AO exposure.

However it appears that he had HBP inservice so that might be a strong direct service connected claim.

Both the IHD and the DMII will need a formal diagnosis. Since he was incountry-Vietnam, they would be considered presumptive AO disabilties.

Is hypertension as a stand-alone symptom claimable and/or can it be attributed as an IHD symptom without a formal IHD diagnosis ? "

I hope some of my older posts here on AO and my claims did not confuse you.

VA did not diagnose or treat IHD or DMII during my husband's lifetime.They awarded them ,however.

But that was because of proven VA negligence/malpractice.

The evidence was within his VA med recs.I diagnosed him posthumously with IHD in 1995 ,before the VA did,in 2012.And in 2003 I had enough evidence to file the DMII claim.Dr.Bash concurred with the evidence I presented to him for 2 IMOs.

His HBP was awarded as well under 1151.No HBP in service, but Dxed by VA and treated with inappropriate meds.



In your brother's case ,as I recall, he has not had much medical care for years....I might be wrong...

so the VA will need evidence that he has HBP (those med recs from the Military will be good evidence that the cardio doctor might be able to bolster, that he had HBP in service, and it is the same etiology of the HBP he had now) and he will definitely need a diagnosis of IHD ( They might call it CAD ,but if it is due to cardiac ischemia , the cardio doctor can determine that with testing.)

HBP has many etiologies (causes).So does heart disease.

But I think most heart disease is, in fact, ischemic, and the cardio doctor will be able to identify what type of heart disease he has.


Edited by Berta

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Ok thank you.   Understand it now.   You are right - no medical care ever for my brother but that's changing now.  I applied and VA Medical Center in DC has accepted him and he is now lined up for a physical appointment in September , and I am trying to coordinate the Agent Orange [free] exam as well ...   Just didn't want to wait so long to get him to a doctor and I was right based on their findings last week.   Going back tomorrow to show dr the previous EKG they want to see to compare and make follow up for the hypertension, and cardio, etc.  

I think I will go ahead and file for hypertension right now, since there is that evidence showing he had it when he was inducted.   I will mention Agent Orange exposure as well in the event the VA does come out with hypertension as another presumptive ... still a novice here but it appears because of the Nehmer case they would have to go back and approve the claim with payment retro to date of claim so I'm better off filing now and substantiate later with more medical diagnosis (IHD and Diabetes II if they come to fruition) from doctors.  

I've got a psychologist and former C&P examiner looking at a possible service connected nexus for PTSD and Schizophrenia which the VA denied in May.   They also found him incompetent so they're holding up retro disability payments until they decide on fiduciary (which I've volunteered to be).   Of course on his eBenefits, the VA estimated completion date for fiduciary appointment is 2018-2019 !!!  Absurd.

Thanks again Berta -- this is all so daunting.

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    • Yes 

      After a PTSD/Unspecific MDD Diagnose From the VA Dr's

      The gold standard for diagnosing PTSD is a structured clinical interview such as the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS-5). When necessary, the PCL-5 can be scored to provide a provisional PTSD DSM 5 diagnosis.

      Any clinical clinician such as MD ,Psychiatrist even a L.C.S.W. (Certified)can perform the Diagnostics Evaluation Employed by the the VA

      ...They just need to figure out your symptoms and put together a list of your symptom's that you possess or show from the evaluation...I am not 100% Sure just how they do this ?

      being I am not a Dr or clinical clinician 

      Once a Diagnoses of PTSD is given they try to set you up with a Therapist to help with your New dx And how to adjust or cope with the Anxiety and Depression the PTSD can cause.

        you learn the tools to cope with and depending how severe your symptoms are ? 

       They test /screen you with phychoeducational type therapy treatment usually at first.

       Warning  some of this therapy can be very rough on a Veteran  from holding on to guilt  from the trauma its self or you maybe in a  ''stuck point''from memories and guilt or from the stressor's or anything that reminds you of the trauma you endured.

      The therapy works  even if we think it don't,  I recommend Therapy for all PTSD Veterans  it could very well save your life once the correct therapy is in place and the Veteran makes all his Clinical Appointments.

      I still have Combat PTSD it probably will never be cured completely but we can learn the tools it takes to cope with this horrible diseases 

      even learning breathing techniques  Helps tremendously during a panic attact.

      I have guilt from the war in Vietnam  ( I ask my self what could I have done to make a better outcome/difference?..and also I am in what the therapist calls stuck points. working on that at present once a week for 90 minutes.  I am very fortunate to have the help the VA gives me and I am lucky I have not turned to alcohol or drugs to mask my problem.

      But I have put my family through a living hell with my angers of burst.and they all stood by me the whole time years and years of my family life was disrupted because of me and my children &spouse  never deserved it one bit.

      That's all I want to say about that.

      At least I am still around. and plan to be tell my old age dying day.
    • No timeframe gotta love that answer it’s even better when you ask 1800 people or call the board directly they’ll say you’ll know sooner then later. I had mine advanced and it was about 2 months later until I had the decision in my hand which seems forever but in the present system in 2016 lightning fast...
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      I have redacted personal information for my documents listed below. 

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    • Hello Defenders of freedom!

      I have a question pertaining to this denial for headaches. The decision letter is quoted below. 


      3. Service connection for headaches.

      "We may grant service connection for a disability which began in military service or was caused by some event or experience in service.

      Your STRs are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On your post-deployment exam in 2005 you denied any headaches. On separation, you denied any headaches. VA treatment records are negative for any treatment of or diagnosis of headaches. On VA exam, the examiner stated there was no evidence of any residuals of a traumatic brain injury.

      We have denied service connection for headaches because the evidence of record fails to show this disability was incurred in or caused by military service."

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