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April 11, 2024

14 VA Secondary Conditions Linked to Hypertension in Veterans

Last updated on May 21, 2024

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Today, Brian Reese the VA Claims Insider reveals and explains 14 VA secondary conditions to hypertension (high blood pressure) for secondary service connection.

What’s the bottom line?

Hypertension is very common in veterans; in fact, it’s #28 on our list of the top 50 most common VA claims.

There’s also a variety of VA claims secondary to high blood pressure, which we’ll explore in this article.

Let’s begin!

List of the 14 Most Common VA Secondary Conditions to Hypertension

Here’s a list of common VA conditions secondary to hypertension arranged in alphabetical order:

  • Aneurysm
  • Angina
  • Cognitive Impairment and Dementia
  • Erectile Dysfunction (ED)
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease
  • Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH)
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Microvascular Disease (Small Vessel Disease)
  • Mood Disorders
  • Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
  • Pulmonary Hypertension
  • Retinopathy
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Stroke

What are the Most Likely Secondary Conditions to Hypertension?

Here’s a detailed list of 14 conditions that can be proximately due to or aggravated by service connected hypertension:

#1. Aneurysm Secondary to Hypertension

Hypertension can lead to the development of aneurysms, which are bulges in blood vessels that can burst and cause life-threatening bleeding. Aneurysms can occur in any blood vessel, but those in the brain (cerebral aneurysms) and the main artery of the body (aortic aneurysms) are particularly dangerous.

#2. Angina Secondary to Hypertension

High blood pressure can contribute to coronary artery disease, which in turn can cause angina – chest pain or discomfort that occurs when an area of your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen-rich blood. Angina can feel like pressure or squeezing in the chest and may also be felt in the shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.

#3. Cognitive Impairment Secondary to Hypertension

There is evidence to suggest that hypertension can lead to mild cognitive decline, including memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and in some cases, dementia. The mechanisms are not entirely clear but may involve damage to the brain’s blood vessels.

#4. Erectile Dysfunction (ED) Secondary to Hypertension

High blood pressure can impair blood flow, which can lead to difficulties in achieving or maintaining an erection. The relationship between hypertension and ED is well-established, and managing blood pressure can help improve erectile function.

#5. Heart Disease Secondary to Hypertension

Hypertension can lead to heart disease, including coronary artery disease (the blockage or narrowing of the coronary arteries), heart failure (a condition where the heart is unable to pump effectively), and hypertensive heart disease (heart problems that result from high blood pressure). These conditions can lead to chest pain, heart attacks, and other serious complications.

#6. Kidney Disease Secondary to Hypertension

Hypertension can damage the arteries around the kidneys, affecting their ability to filter blood effectively. Over time, this can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD), where the kidneys lose their filtering ability, leading to a buildup of waste products in the body.

#7. Left Ventricular Hypertrophy (LVH) Secondary to Hypertension

LVH involves the thickening of the heart’s left ventricle, which can affect the heart’s ability to pump blood. Hypertension forces the heart to work harder to circulate blood, which can make the muscle wall of the left ventricle thicken.

#8. Metabolic Syndrome Secondary to Hypertension

This is a cluster of conditions that occur together, increasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. It includes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Hypertension is both a component and a possible consequence of metabolic syndrome.

#9. Microvascular Disease Secondary to Hypertension

High blood pressure can damage the small blood vessels throughout the body, affecting the heart, eyes, kidneys, and other organs. This damage can lead to a range of complications, depending on which organs are affected. Coronary microvascular disease affects the vessels that deliver blood to the heart.

#10. Mood Disorders Secondary to Hypertension

There is some evidence to suggest a link between hypertension and mood disorders, as well as depression and anxiety. The relationship is complex and may be influenced by the stress of managing a chronic condition, as well as the physical impacts of hypertension on the brain.

#11. Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) Secondary to Hypertension

PAD results from narrowed or blocked arteries in the legs, which can cause pain, cramping, and fatigue in the leg muscles during activity. It’s often caused by atherosclerosis, which hypertension can exacerbate.

#12. Retinopathy Secondary to Hypertension

High blood pressure can damage the blood vessels in the retina, leading to hypertensive retinopathy. This can result in vision problems, including blurred vision or complete loss of sight.

#13. Sleep Apnea Secondary to Hypertension

There is a strong association between hypertension and sleep apnea, a condition characterized by repeated pauses in breathing during sleep. These breathing interruptions can cause temporary spikes in blood pressure throughout the night and worsen overall hypertension.

#14. Stroke Secondary to Hypertension

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for stroke, as it can lead to the formation of clots in the arteries leading to the brain, or cause a weakening of the arteries that can lead to a bleed (hemorrhagic stroke).

About the Author

Brian Reese
Brian Reese

Brian Reese

Brian Reese is one of the top VA disability benefits experts in the world and bestselling author of You Deserve It: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Veteran Benefits You’ve Earned (Second Edition).

Brian’s frustration with the VA claim process led him to create VA Claims Insider, which provides disabled veterans with tips, strategies, and lessons learned to win their VA disability compensation claim, faster, even if they’ve already filed, been denied, gave up, or don’t know where to start. 

As the founder of VA Claims Insider and CEO of Military Disability Made Easy, he has helped serve more than 10 million military members and veterans since 2013 through free online educational resources.

He is a former active duty Air Force officer with extensive experience leading hundreds of individuals and multi-functional teams in challenging international environments, including a combat tour to Afghanistan in 2011 supporting Operation ENDURING FREEDOM.

Brian is a Distinguished Graduate of Management from the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO, and he holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University’s Spears School of Business, Stillwater, OK, where he was a National Honor Scholar (Top 1% of Graduate School class).

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