Aplastic anemia is when your body cannot produce enough blood cells. Bone marrow, the soft tissue inside your bones, makes blood cells as your body needs them. There are two main types of blood cells: red blood cells and white blood cells. Red blood cells are far more common and are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout your body. White blood cells act as the defense of the body and protect and fight infection and disease.
Veterans who are suffering from aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes may be entitled to disability benefits from the VA. Specifically, Veterans who suffer from aplastic anemia and were stationed at Camp Lejeune during a specific timeframe are entitled to presumptive service connection. This means that they do not need to prove their condition is related to time in service because the VA presumes it is.
Camp Lejeune contained contaminated drinking water from the mid-1950’s to the mid-1980’s. Certain chemicals that contained high levels of toxicity were found in the water that many Veterans and their family members drank and bathed in when they were living at the base. These chemicals have led to a variety of different illnesses, including aplastic anemia and other myelodysplastic syndromes.
Symptoms of Aplastic Anemia
Those who suffer from aplastic anemia are more prone to being fatigued, infections, and excessive bleeding. This can develop in anyone at any time in their lives, however, some people may be at an increased risk if they have been exposed to certain circumstances. Some of these circumstances may have come from time spent at Camp Lejeune.
Aplastic anemia can be difficult to detect because the symptoms are not as clear as with other blood diseases such as leukemia. According to Mayo Clinic, when symptoms do appear, they may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale skin
- Skin rash
- Prolonged bleeding
- Nosebleeds and bleeding gums
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Easy bruising or bleeding
A myelodysplastic syndrome is another type of blood disorder. Myelodysplastic syndromes are when the bone marrow either produces immature blood cells that will die quickly or if it produces misshaped or mutated blood cells that cannot carry out the functions of regular blood cells. The symptoms of many myelodysplastic syndromes are similar to aplastic anemia symptoms.
Certain circumstances can significantly increase your chance of being diagnosed with aplastic anemia or a myelodysplastic syndrome. Exposure to toxic chemicals increases your chances of developing the disorder. Other things like prolonged exposure to radiation can also be harmful.
Military service occasionally mandates soldiers to be exposed to and interact with some of these risk factors. After exposure, the chemicals may lay dormant in your body for years before you begin to develop aplastic anemia. If something you did in your military service resulted in you contracting aplastic anemia or a myelodysplastic syndrome, the VA is responsible for compensating you, even years after your service.
VA Service Connection for Aplastic Anemia
If you were stationed at Camp Lejeune and developed either aplastic anemia or another myelodysplastic syndrome, the VA is responsible for giving you just compensation. Although it is impossible to determine the exact cause of your condition, it can be safe to assume that if you had not been in the military and had not carried out your orders, you would not have developed your conditions.
If you have developed a blood condition because of your service and the VA is not paying you the compensation you deserve, do not give up this fight. We can help you appeal a denial from the VA and ensure you receive the disability benefits you earned. Berry Law is a team full of Veterans who are dedicated to fighting for the rights of fellow Veterans. Give us a call today at (888) 883-2483 for a free case evaluation and see how we can help.