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Ischemic Heart Disease and Agent Orange

For many Veterans, the battle against the consequences of Agent Orange exposure has been long and demanding. It’s a journey marked by frustration, denial, and a relentless pursuit of justice. One of the most recent victories in this ongoing fight has been the recognition of ischemic heart disease (IHD) as a condition linked to Agent Orange exposure. This opens the door for affected Veterans to receive the disability compensation and medical benefits they rightfully deserve.

During the Vietnam War, the United States military employed Agent Orange, a powerful herbicide and defoliant. Containing a highly toxic compound called dioxin, Agent Orange was used to strip Vietnamese forests and deprive enemy forces of cover and food sources. This chemical’s devastating effects extended far beyond its intended purpose. It left countless American Veterans with a legacy of health issues that continue to haunt them decades later.

The Toxic Legacy of Agent Orange

Agent Orange got its name from the orange band used to identify its storage containers. It was a powerful herbicide and defoliant employed by the U.S. military during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Its active ingredient, a highly toxic compound called 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), is classified as a human carcinogen by agencies like the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Despite initial denials and delays, the harmful effects of Agent Orange exposure on human health became increasingly difficult to ignore. Federal officials first acknowledged the widely used pesticide as a health hazard in 1970, but it took several more years before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finally banned its use. The legacy of Agent Orange is toxic.

How Ischemic Heart Disease Affects Veterans

Ischemic heart disease (IHD), also known as ischemia, is a condition characterized by damage to the heart muscle caused by an insufficient intake of oxygen and nutrients. The heart, starved of essential resources, begins to deteriorate even as it continues to pump blood throughout the body.

Symptoms of IHD can include:

  • chest pain, particularly during or after exertion or exercise,
  • tightness or pressure in the chest,
  • dizziness,
  • radiating pains in the neck, back, arms, shoulders, or jaw.

Alarmingly, many individuals experience no symptoms until they suffer a heart attack, making early detection and treatment crucial.

For decades, Veterans exposed to Agent Orange and their loved ones suspected a link between the toxic herbicide and heart diseases like IHD. However, their claims were met with resistance and denial from the U.S. government, creating a frustrating and often disheartening battle for recognition and compensation.

IHD is a Presumptive Condition Qualifying for VA Disability

In August 2010, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended its regulations to add IHD to the list of presumptive diseases associated with exposure to certain herbicide agents like Agent Orange. This means that if a Veteran was potentially exposed to Agent Orange during their military service and later develops IHD, the VA will presume that the IHD was caused by the Agent Orange exposure for purposes of awarding VA disability compensation benefits.

The VA defines IHD as including, but not limited to, acute, subacute, and old myocardial infarction; atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease including coronary artery disease; and stable, unstable, and Prinzmetal’s angina.

To qualify for this presumption, the Veteran must have served in one of the following locations during the specified time:

  • In Vietnam between January 9, 1962, and May 7, 1975
  • Aboard a U.S. Navy or Coast Guard ship operating in inland waterways of Vietnam
  • In a U.S. Air Force installation in Thailand during the Vietnam Era
  • In certain units in Korea between April 1, 1968, and August 31, 1971

By establishing IHD as a presumptive condition, the VA has recognized the likely connection between Agent Orange exposure and this form of heart disease, easing the burden of proof for affected Veterans to receive disability compensation and related benefits.

Emotional Toll of Toxic Exposure

For Veterans exposed to Agent Orange, the battle against its consequences has been a source of immense frustration and emotional turmoil. Many have faced denial and dismissal, compounding the physical and mental anguish caused by their illnesses.

Imagine a Veteran, proud and steadfast in their service to their country, now grappling with the debilitating effects of ischemic heart disease. The chest pains, the shortness of breath, and the constant fear of a heart attack become a daily reality. It erodes their quality of life and casts a shadow over their hard-earned retirement years.

Yet, for far too long, the history of Agent Orange exposure and its connection to heart disease was refuted or ignored, leaving these Veterans feeling betrayed and abandoned. The emotional toll of fighting for recognition and compensation, while struggling with a life-threatening condition, has been immense.

Securing Disability Benefits for Agent Orange Exposure

While recognizing IHD as a service-connected condition is a significant victory, the battle is far from over. Many Veterans continue to navigate the complex process of establishing their eligibility for benefits related to Agent Orange exposure. Veterans also may be facing appeals for previously denied Agent Orange disability claims, or need help adjusting their disability rating for more compensation.

For Veterans suffering from IHD or other health issues potentially linked to Agent Orange, it is crucial to seek professional legal assistance. Attorneys with focused experience in Agent Orange disability claims can provide invaluable guidance and advocacy, increasing the chances of a successful outcome.

At Berry Law, a firm dedicated to serving the needs of Veterans, the team understands the emotional and physical toll of Agent Orange exposure. Founding attorney John S. Berry Sr., himself a Vietnam Veteran, has known and represented many service members who suffered or died from exposure to chemical agents during the war. The firm’s passion for securing benefits for injured Veterans is deeply rooted in personal experience and a commitment to honoring their sacrifice.

Filing a Disability Claim for Ischemic Heart Disease

To file a claim, Veterans must provide medical evidence linking their condition to their military service and toxic exposure. Gathering the necessary documentation, navigating the claims process, and effectively presenting a case to the VA can be challenging, especially for those already dealing with the physical and emotional toll of their illness.

This is where the assistance of an experienced lawyer can prove invaluable. Legal professionals who focus on VA disability claims and Agent Orange exposure cases have an in-depth understanding of the specific requirements and procedures involved. They can help Veterans compile and organize the necessary records and supporting evidence to build a strong and compelling case.

A lawyer can ensure that all deadlines and filing requirements are met, minimizing the risk of delays or denials due to technical errors or oversights. They can also represent Veterans at hearings and appeals, advocating on their behalf and presenting arguments grounded in legal skill and knowledge of precedents related to Agent Orange claims.

Contact Berry Law to File an Agent Orange Disability Claim

Veterans suffering from ischemic heart disease or other health issues potentially linked to Agent Orange exposure should seek professional legal assistance. At Berry Law, our team of dedicated attorneys is committed to securing the benefits Veterans deserve, and we are honored to stand by their side in this ongoing fight for justice.

Hearing about Veterans suffering from medical issues caused by exposure to Agent Orange stirs our passion. Our lawyers and legal team are Veterans themselves, who have known and represented many Veterans exposed to chemical agents during their service. We are highly motivated to secure benefits for all Veterans injured while serving their country. Call our legal team at 888-883-2483 or fill out our online contact form. We represent Veterans in all 50 states and our legal team is available 24/7.

Berry Law

The attorneys at Berry Law are dedicated to helping injured Veterans. With extensive experience working with VA disability claims, Berry Law can help you with your disability appeals.

This material is for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and the reader, and does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case, and the contents of this blog are not a substitute for legal counsel.

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