I recently met a Veteran outside of the office, and the conversation naturally turned back to what we do for a living. (For the record, defending the freedom of millions of Americans really is a lot cooler than blog writing and Tweeting.) When the discussion turned to VA disability, he informed me that had no need for it as there was nothing wrong with him. I naturally asked follow up questions, and determined that he actually had several of the presumptive conditions of Gulf War Illness. This young male served in Iraq and admitted that he sought treatment for joint pain, fatigue and something a little more in depth. He mentioned that he had some heartburn, difficulty swallowing, and acid reflux. I immediately exclaimed: “you might have GERD…” forgetting briefly that we were in a public place, and others around us had the ability to hear. Why was I so excited about this man’s Gastroesophageal reflux disease? The answer is simple; he could get service connected for it…and I love helping people. However, I realize from my experience, and the looks form the other restaurant patrons after I shouted out my buddy’s condition, that the general public may not be as familiar with this term as I am.
So, what is GERD? As I am a blogger, not a doctor, I am going to let the fine folks over at the Mayo Clinic tell you the definition. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid or, occasionally, bile flows back (refluxes) into your food pipe (esophagus). The backwash of acid irritates the lining of your esophagus and causes GERD signs and symptoms. Honestly, that is not as helpful as I would have hoped, so they also list the symptoms:
- A burning sensation in your chest (heartburn), sometimes spreading to the throat, along with a sour taste in your mouth
- Chest pain
- Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)
- Dry cough
- Hoarseness or sore throat
- Regurgitation of food or sour liquid (acid reflux)
- Sensation of a lump in the throat
My new Veteran buddy agreed that he would seek service connection for these conditions. Despite the fact that I have seen every episode of Grey’s Anatomy, and write the best VA Disability blog in the country, he can’t just go on my word. He has to seek treatment for it from a doctor. In his case, he already sought treatment. But wait, isn’t this a presumptive condition? While that is correct, you can’t just say I have it, and get the benefit. You do have to seek treatment. This is different than a knee condition, for instance, which has to be diagnosed, injured or treated while serving.
If you would like to know more about this condition, or would like to talk to me about becoming a client, call me: 1-877-526-3457. Fill out this form, and I will call you. While you’re online, request a free copy of our book. It is really free too…we don’t even charge for shipping.