Heart disease could be presumptive condition for some veterans

Contact: Lauren DeVol, MVAA, 517-284-5236
Agency: Military and Veterans Affairs

February 16, 2016

February is American Heart Month

LANSING, Mich. – February is American Heart Month, designed to raise awareness about heart disease and how to prevent it.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths. It is also a presumptive condition for some veterans, including Vietnam veterans exposed to Agent Orange.

Presumptive conditions are ailments recognized by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs as linked to a veteran’s time and location of military service, and the diagnosis of these diseases could mean increased eligibility for VA compensation.

That’s why the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency encourages veterans and their dependents to know the facts about heart disease and their disability benefits.

“Over the past several years, the federal VA has made more than 50 changes to the list of presumptive diseases and those who are eligible for compensation because of them,” MVAA Director Jeff Barnes said. “It can seem like a full-time job just trying to keep up with these changes, but veterans and their families don’t have to do it alone. With just one call to MVAA, veterans can learn how their military service could connect them to health care and disability compensation benefits.”

For some veterans, it can be as simple as showing they have been diagnosed with a health condition identified as a presumptive condition. To find out if your condition may be service connected, call 800-MICH-VET (800-642-4838) or visit MichiganVeterans.com to locate an accredited benefits counselor.

Veterans and all Michiganders can reduce their risk for heart-related illnesses by making healthy choices such as staying active, reducing stress, eating a balanced diet, quitting smoking and reducing alcohol consumption.