Are you overlooking high blood pressure, Veterans?

how the va rates high blood pressure

High blood pressure is also called hypertension and is not called the “Silent Killer” for nothing. The only time that symptoms might show is when your blood pressure is already at a seriously high level. As a veteran, it is essential to get your blood pressure checked regularly. We will be discussing how to know if you’re at risk for high blood pressure, as well as how the VA rates high blood pressure.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is the pressure that the blood flows through your body. If the pressure gets too high, your body will start to breakdown by causing a stroke or heart attack.

How is blood pressure measured?

Blood pressure is measured with two readings, systolic and diastolic. 

  • Systolic: is the pressure measured in the blood veins when the heartbeats.
  • Diastolic: is the pressure measured when your heart is in-between beats.

Here is an example reading example, blood pressure reading, 137/88. The 137 is systolic, and 88 is diastolic.

How do I know if my blood pressure is high?

If your health care provider suspects that you have high blood pressure, they will take multiple readings and use the average.

High blood pressure has different stages:

Blood Pressure Stages
CategorySystolicDiastolic
NormalLess than 120Less than 80
Prehypertension120 – 12980 – 89
Hypertension Stage 1140 – 15990 – 99
Hypertension Stage 2160 or Higher100 or Higher
Hypersensitive CrisisHigher than 180Higher than 110

 If your blood pressure reaches the hypersensitive crisis stage, call 911 immediately.

What are high blood pressure symptoms?

There are no symptoms of high blood pressure until the hypersensitive crisis stage. Symptoms are:

These symptoms could be severe, and you should contact your health care provider immediately. 

What can I do to reduce my blood pressure?

Things that would be suggested by your doctor would be:

  • Reduce sodium in your diet
  • Reduce or quit alcohol
  • Stop smoking
  • Change your diet to healthier foods
  • Reduce caffeine intake
  • Reduce the amount of sugar you consume
  • Get more exercise

Before you make any changes in diet or exercise, consult your health care service provider. They will be able to tailor a program that suits you and may need to prescribe medication.

What happens if my blood pressure is always high?

When high blood pressure goes unchecked for a long time, it can cause major damage to the body, and can even be life-threatening.

Hypertension can cause:

Because symptoms do not show until you are in the hypersensitive crisis stage, it is critical that you get your blood pressure checked on a regular basis. 

As a veteran, what are my risks of getting high blood pressure?

Veterans have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure than the average civilian population. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said 30 percent of veterans have high blood pressure. 

The risk for high blood pressure goes up through deployments and having a diagnosis of PTSD. They also say that combat veterans’ rate for high blood pressure is at 50 percent. That is a very high rate. If you have ever deployed, you will want to get your blood pressure checked.

High blood pressure is also a hereditary disease. If anyone in your family history has high blood pressure, then your chances of getting it will increase. You should get to know your family’s medical history. 

How does the VA rate high blood pressure? 

The VA’s rating for high blood pressure is based mainly off of the diastolic pressure reading. 

  • 130 diastolic or higher is rated at 60 percent
  • 120 diastolic or higher is rated at 40 percent
  • 110 diastolic or higher, or; the systolic is 200 or higher, is rated at 20 percent
  • 100 diastolic or higher, or; the systolic is 160 or higher, is rated at 10 percent
  • Have a history of 100 diastolic pressure or higher and need medication to control it is rated at 10 percent.

How can high blood pressure be service-connected?

If you are diagnosed with hypertension while on active duty, it can be service-connected. High blood pressure is also on the VA’s presumptive conditions list for Gulf War Syndrome, Vietnam Veterans, Atomic Veterans, and former Prisoners of War. 

High blood pressure as a secondary service condition, is it possible?

Hypertension can be claimed as a secondary service condition. There has to be a connection or nexus between a rated condition and your hypertension. 

High blood pressure can be connected to PTSD or Somatic Stress Disorder (SSD) because a high-stress environment can cause high blood pressure. 

Other secondary conditions high blood pressure could be connected to could he headaches, back injuries, or anything that would keep you from getting proper exercise. 


How do you file a claim for Somatic Symptom Disorder?

What do I need to submit to the VA for my high blood pressure claim?

To file a claim, you will need a diagnosis from your health care provider if you can ask your doctor to fill out a VA Form 21-0960A-3 Hypertension Disability Benefits Questionnaire (DBQ). This letter will list your blood pressure reading, and your doctor can state the nexus for your military service.

Conclusion

High blood pressure or called hypertension, is a significant problem for veterans. It is critical to keep track of your blood pressure for your family and yourself. 

high blood pressure in veterans

Having a proper diet and getting enough exercise should help reduce your blood pressure and keep you healthy. That is good for you and your family.

Dealing with the VA can be a nightmare, and if you need help filing a VA disability claim for high blood pressure, the VA Claims Insider Elite Program can help. 

We are veterans helping veterans and have been through the VA process. We can help you get the benefits that you deserve by law. We will help you build a strategy and give you support during your claim process. 

We also have independent health care providers contracted out that understand your situation and can help.

Knowing that you have a veteran based support system to guide you go VA Claims Insider Elite now to get the benefits you deserve by law!

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