14 conditions linked by VA to Agent Orange

I was in Vietnam for a year, in 1967 and ’68. Could you print in the paper a list of all the medical problems caused by Agent Orange in Vietnam?

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has linked exposure to Agent Orange, an herbicide used during the Vietnam War, to 14 health problems.

Those conditions, along with the VA’s descriptions of them:

AL amyloidosis — “A rare disease caused when an abnormal protein, amyloid, enters tissues or organs.”

Chronic B-cell leukemias — “A type of cancer which affects white blood cells.”

Chloracne and similar acneform diseases — “A skin condition that occurs soon after exposure to chemicals and looks like common forms of acne seen in teenagers. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.”

Type 2 diabetes — “A disease characterized by high blood sugar levels resulting from the body’s inability to respond properly to the hormone insulin.”

Hodgkin’s disease — “A malignant lymphoma (cancer) characterized by progressive enlargement of the lymph nodes, liver, and spleen, and by progressive anemia.”

Ischemic heart disease — “A disease characterized by a reduced supply of blood to the heart, that leads to chest pain.”

Multiple myeloma — “A cancer of plasma cells, a type of white blood cell in bone marrow.”

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — “A group of cancers that affect the lymph glands and other lymphatic tissue.”

Parkinson’s disease — “A progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects muscle movement.”

Early onset peripheral neuropathy — “A nervous system condition that causes numbness, tingling, and motor weakness. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of herbicide exposure.”

Porphyria cutanea tarda — “A disorder characterized by liver dysfunction and by thinning and blistering of the skin in sun-exposed areas. Under VA’s rating regulations, it must be at least 10 percent disabling within one year of exposure to herbicides.”

Prostate cancer — “Cancer of the prostate; one of the most common cancers among men.”

Respiratory cancers — “Cancers of the lung, larynx, trachea, and bronchus.”

Soft-tissue sarcomas other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi’s sarcoma or mesothelioma — “A group of different types of cancers in body tissues such as muscle, fat, blood and lymph vessels, and connective tissues.”

According to “Military Update” columnist Tom Philpott, David Shulkin, the VA secretary “will decide ‘on or before’ Nov. 1 whether to add” medical conditions to the above list.

“Any ailments Shulkin might add to VA’s current list of 14 ‘presumptive diseases’ linked to herbicide exposure would make many more thousands of Vietnam War veterans eligible for VA disability compensation and health care,” Philpott writes in a column posted online Aug. 3.

“Ailments under review as possible adds to the presumptive diseases list include bladder cancer, hypothyroidism and Parkinson-like symptoms without diagnosis of that particular disease. But hypertension (high blood pressure) and stroke also might be embraced, or ignored, as part of the current review.”

For more info: www.va.gov.

The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098 and leave voice mail, or email informer@americanpress.com.

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