1 in 3 veterans develop some type of arthritis, such as gout. Call us to see if you can get a VA disability for gout.
One in five Americans suffers from arthritis. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States, and most of those affected are working adults. Veterans are also disproportionately affected, with one in three vets developing an arthritic condition, such as gout, at some point in her life.
Gout is a painful disease that can be disabling. More than half of veterans who develop gout say it prevents them from doing at least some of their daily activities. Although the term arthritis refers to inflammation of the joints, it describes a wide range of rheumatic diseases and conditions that affect the joints, surrounding tissues, and other connective tissues. Gout is one of the most painful, often traced back to military service. Gout is classified as a form of arthritis by the VA, but it will be noted on your records if you have gout. If your gout is related to military service, the VA may offer you disability compensation.
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In this article on VA disability for gout:
- What is gout?
- Some common gout symptoms include:
- How is gout treated?
- What risk factors are associated with gout?
- family history of gout
- medical conditions
- Some medications trigger gout
- Surgery or trauma can cause gout.
- Gender and age affect gout
- How do you test for service-connected gout for the VA?
- What happens after I file a claim for VA disability benefits for my gout?
- What are the VA classifications for gout?
- You will need a VA disability attorney to fight your fight.
- Frequently Asked Questions about VA Disability for Gout:
What is gout?
Gout is an inflammatory condition caused by the buildup of uric acid in the joints. Uric acid dissolves in the blood and flows through the kidneys into the urine under normal circumstances. However, your body can make too much or too little uric acid. Uric acid is necessary for the body to break down purines in certain types of seafood, meat, and vegetables (cauliflower, steak, and tuna are some examples). Alcoholic beverages, especially beer, and beverages sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose) also promote higher uric acid levels.
If too much acid builds up in the body, it won't dissolve properly and instead forms urate crystals in the joints. While gout is most commonly associated with the big toes and ankles, acid can accumulate in any large, weight-bearing joint, including fingers, wrists, knees, and elbows.
Some common gout symptoms include:
- Severe joint pain that can occur in any joint (knees, wrists, elbows, fingers, ankles) but usually affects the big toe.
- Swollen, tender and inflamed joints
- kidney stones
- Elevated uric acid levels
- burning sensations
- Limited range of motion for affected joints
Gout attacks can strike without warning and wake you up in the middle of the night feeling like your big toe is on fire. Even the weight of a light blanket or sheet on a swollen, hot, and tender joint can be unbearable. Gout flare-ups are characterized by a sudden onset and can last from a few days to several weeks. Gout only affects one joint at a time, and a flare is often accompanied by long periods without symptoms.
It is worth noting that gout does not necessarily manifest itself in the form of symptoms. While symptomless gout isn't painful, it's crucial to know if you have too much uric acid in your joints, as this can cause pain or discomfort. You should also know that other related conditions are often confused with gout.pseudogotaGout, for example, looks and feels very similar to gout, but is a condition that develops due to the buildup of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) as opposed to the buildup of uric acid crystals.
Here, one of our VA disability attorneys addresses questions that Woods and Woods, The Veteran's Firm, frequently ask about veteran disability claims and appeals.
How is gout treated?
Most people with gout can control their symptoms with proper care. The most popular treatments are high doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and corticosteroid injections into the affected joints. Patients generally feel better within a few hours of treatment and the attack subsides within a few days. If NSAIDs fail to control symptoms, colchicine may be used, but there is aincreased risk of side effects.
According to research, patients who participate in their own treatment experience less discomfort, fewer doctor visits, and a better quality of life. While self-management skills are necessary to successfully deal with any pain and disability from arthritis, gout patients must learn about their disease and participate in their own treatment. Working cooperatively with healthcare professionals gives the individual a sense of control and participation in decision making.
To relieve stress on specific joints, assistive devices may be used. Braces or canes, for example, can help reduce stress on your knees. Bottle clamps and other devices can help relieve stress on the small joints of the hands.
It is also important to note that despite the pain and difficulties that gout brings, 95% of gout patients believe they can do things to improve their symptoms (Arthritis Foundation Nielsen Survey of Consumer Needs 2016). Gout symptoms may improve by making certain lifestyle choices, including getting plenty of rest and sleep, exercising regularly, reducing stress, limiting alcohol intake, and adding certain herbs and supplements to your diet. Turmeric, for example, can help minimize inflammation, and bromelain, found in pineapple stems, can help prevent gout.
Here, one of our VA disability advocates talks about VA disability ratings for sleep apnea.
What risk factors are associated with gout?
Your body makes more uric acid when you're overweight, and your kidneys have a harder time removing it. Obesity may be service-connected due to injury, depression, or another medical condition. This would make gout a minor condition, but it still counts towards VA.
Consuming a diet high in red meat and shellfish, as well as drinks sweetened with fruit sugar (fructose), increases uric acid levels, putting you at risk for gout. Gout is also exacerbated byalcohol consumption, especially beer.
family history of gout
You are more likely to have gout if other members of your family have it too. This may be related to genetics or an inherited lifestyle. When testing a service call, you only need to prove that your condition has beenat least as likely as notcaused by your service. This means that if there is a 50/50 chance that you will get it from the service, you should win the case.
A number of diseases and conditions cause gout.untreated hypertensionand chronic diseases such as kidney disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, kidney disease, and obesity are among them. If you can prove service connection, you may be able to get VA compensation for gout secondary to hypertension. Vietnam vets are likely to get a VA rating for high blood pressure due to alleged Agent Orange conditions.
One of our VA disability attorneys reviews the list of alleged Agent Orange conditions in this video:
Some medications trigger gout
Low-dose aspirin and certain medications for high blood pressure, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, beta-blockers, and thiazide diuretics, can increase uric acid levels. Anti-rejection drugs prescribed for people who have had an organ transplant can also cause problems.
Surgery or trauma can cause gout.
A gout attack can be triggered by recent surgery or trauma. Being vaccinated can also cause gout attacks in some people.
Gender and age affect gout
Gout is more common in men than women due to lower uric acid levels in women. Women's uric acid levels, on the other hand, approach those of men during menopause. Men are often more likely than women to experience gout symptoms earlier in life, usually between the ages of 30 and 50, while women often develop symptoms after menopause.
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How do you test for service-connected gout for the VA?
Many people mistakenly believe that gout is simply due to a poor diet, but the causes of gout are much more complex. Medical research has shown that gout can also be caused by trauma.
Understanding how disability benefits work is crucial if you want to prove that your gout was caused by something that happened while you were serving in the military. For example, if you experienced a traumatic incident while serving time, your gout attacks may be directly linked, something to be aware of if you are filing a disability claim.
Because there are so many other risk factors that can contribute to gout, it's not always easy to make a connection to military service.It is imperative to discuss the details with your doctor.. They will give you the best idea of any possible link between your drop and their service.
You can call us before you see your doctor, if you want, at(866)232-5777. We can help you find out if your conditions are connected.
The VA understands that service members may suffer from a variety of conditions as a result of a service-connected disability. These claims are usually easier to prove in the case of gout, since gout can be caused by many factors. Certain types of high blood pressure medications, for example, can cause a buildup of uric acid. You could request a secondary service link for gout, for example, if you had a direct contacthigh pressure service connection.
Use our VA Disability Calculator to estimate your combined VA rating and monthly entitlement here.
Developing obesity as a result of depression brought on by long-term military stress is another example of how gout can be connected to military service. Depression would be the main care link in this situation, with obesity and gout being secondary links. If you are applying for health insurance through the Veterans Administration or the Social Security Administration, you will need to show how your gout affects your ability to function in your daily routine.
It is not necessary that all service connections have occurred when you were officially on active duty. For example, if you were stationed abroad but officially off duty when a connection incident occurred, you can still claim compensation. Also, if you had gout before you entered the military, particularly asymptomatic gout, you can still claim disability compensation if you can prove that your condition worsened during your service. For example, if he has a family history of gout but later discovered that his gout attacks became more severe after significant lifestyle changes or a traumatic experience while in the military.
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What happens after I file a claim for VA disability benefits for my gout?
A recent diagnosis from your doctor, a summary of the incidents that triggered the primary and secondary connections, and a confirmation letter from the doctor stating that the primary condition caused the secondary condition are required to file a chronic gout claim. The VA will usually recommend that you arrange awith a VA doctor after submitting your paperwork to the VA Regional Office. The VA doctor will not treat your gout, but will review your medical and joint history to see how severe the condition is. You will also be asked about the relationship between the affected joint and your time in the military.
After the VA doctor records his findings about your condition, he will forward his opinion to the regional office, which will make a decision. If your claim is denied, we will use the Appeals Modernization Act to File an Appeal (AMA). The AMA allows veterans to appeal cases based on their desire to collect and present additional evidence, request that someone other than the regional office review the case, orrequest someone with higher authority in the regional officeto review the case.
VA disability claim resources are common, you should be prepared to offer additional documentation such as x-rays and blood work to confirm the severity of your condition. You may not necessarily be required to provide more information if someone else reviews your case and determines that the claim is justified.
What are the VA classifications for gout?
As a form of arthritis, gout is classified into38 CFR § 4.71ausing the VA diagnosis code 5002 for the musculoskeletal system. The condition is classified by the VA based on the severity of your pain and whether your debilitating conditions prevent you from working. Those who are completely disabled by the condition may receive a 100% rating, entitling them to full benefits.
Ratings are given as follows:
20 percent–one or two outbreaks per year with a well-established diagnosis.
40 percent– combinations of symptoms that produce definite deterioration in health, objectively supported by examination findings or disabling exacerbations that occur three or more times per year.
60 percent– Less than the criteria for 100 percent, but with weight loss and severe deficiency anemia or healthy or severely disabling exacerbations occurring 4 or more times per year or less for prolonged periods.
100 percent–With constitutional manifestations associated with active, totally disabling joint involvement.
To help those who are unable to work due to their service-connected conditions, some veterans with gout may also qualify for what is known as Total Disability Based on Individual Unemployment (TDIU). This level of disability provides a VA disability rating of 100 percent, even if yourother combined disability ratings do not add up to 100. Any veteran whose gout contributes to his inability to work must apply to the TDIU. To do this, you will need to complete and submit VA Form 21-8940, Veteran's Application for Delinquency-Based Compensation Increase.
The VA generally does not award 100% of the TDIU for a single disability. They typically add up with disabilities and veterans meet criteria like this:
1. Has at least 1 service-connected disability rated 60% or higher, or 2 or more service-connected disabilities, with at least 1 rated 40% or higher and a combined rating of 70%, or further.mipulled fromhttps://www.va.gov/disability/eligibility/special-claims/unemployability/
2. You are unable to maintain stable and financially supportive employment (known as substantially gainful employment) due to your service-connected disability. Casual jobs (fringe employment) do not count.
Here is a video from one of our veteran disability attorneys teaching you how to use our VA Combined Disability Scores Calculator.
You will need a VA disability attorney to fight your fight.
All veterans are entitled to disability benefits if they are injured or develop
a disability as a result of your service in the armed forces. Arthritis is one of the most
common illnesses that affect veterans and civilians alike, and gout is a
arthritic condition that can be very painful and debilitating. If the cause of your
the gout dates back to your military service, are you eligible for VA
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Frequently Asked Questions about VA Disability for Gout:
How can I become disabled by gout?
You will need to have a diagnosis, details of what you experienced at work, and a medical nexus linking the two. It may be easier to prove other service-connected injuries and then prove that your gout was caused by that condition.This is a secondary service connection,and pays as much as a primary condition of service.
Is gout a disability?
Yes, AV deficiency is considered in the same category as arthritis. If it affects your ability to work and you can prove that Agent Orange or some other service-related event caused it, you qualify for disability.Talk to our VA disability team if you are unable to workand we'll see how fast we can help you.