Respiratory Health and VA Disability

Two specific types of respiratory diseases that can restrict breathing are asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the airways characterized by episodes of breathing problems. While it cannot be cured, its symptoms can be controlled. COPD is characterized by airflow limitation. The limitation is usually progressive and is associated with an abnormal inflammatory response of the lungs to noxious particles or gases, such as those in cigarette smoke. The term COPD includes two main conditions: emphysema (in which the air sacs of the lung are damaged and enlarged), and chronic bronchitis (a long-lasting cough caused by chronic inflammation of the bronchi). Most people with COPD have both conditions.

Veterans may suffer from other respiratory problems due to exposure to respiratory hazards such as infectious agents and other environmental exposures. Examples of respiratory diseases that may be caused by infectious agents are tuberculosis, lung cancer, and pneumonia. Environmental hazards found in war theaters, such as Agent Orange, may put Veterans at additional risk of respiratory problems. Veterans who develop respiratory cancer (cancer of the lung, bronchus, larynx, or trachea) and were exposed to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service do not have to prove a connection between their disease and their service to be eligible to receive VA health care and disability compensation. In order to prevail on respiratory issues the veteran must show that they have a currently diagnosed disability and that the disability was caused by an event or injury in service. This requires qualified medical evidence.

To learn more about how you can get benefits for respiratory issues contact us at or call us at 855-312-5575.