What Is AL Amyloidosis?
Al amyloidosis is a rare disease that occurs when amyloid proteins are abnormally deposited in tissues or organs leading to interference with normal organ function. Organs that it can affect include the kidneys, liver, heart, and nervous system. Most cases of AL amyloidosis don’t begin to present signs or symptoms until the condition is advanced but the most common changes to watch out for are:
- Swelling of ankles and legs
- Inability to lie flat in bed due to shortness of breath
- Severe fatigue and weakness
- Skin changes, such as thickening or easy bruising
- Enlarged tongue
- Irregular heartbeat
A number of outside factors can cause AL amyloidosis, such as inflammatory diseases or long-term dialysis. Another environmental factor that can influence its development is Agent Orange, an herbicide used during the Vietnam war to control ground vegetation for military movements. According to a 1996 study and its subsequent updated editions, there is a causal connection between Agent Orange exposure and the development of AL amyloidosis. Due to this discovery, the VA developed a regulation that allows veterans with certain health conditions that are the result of Agent Orange exposure to receive presumptive service connection for their condition. This means that when applying for VA disability benefits, veterans who have a presumptive condition, such as AL amyloidosis, that can be caused by Agent Orange are eligible for service connection as long as they can prove that they served in an area of presumptive exposure. In other words, if a veteran served in an area of presumptive exposure and has developed AL amyloidosis, the VA will concede both that (1) he was exposed to Agent Orange while in service and (2) his exposure to Agent Orange caused his AL amyloidosis.
How The VA Rates AL Amyloidosis
Under 38 CFR § 4.117, the VA rates AL amyloidosis (Diagnostic Code 7717), or primary amyloidosis, at the 100 percent schedular disability rate. This means that any veteran with this condition will receive the maximum possible schedular disability compensation no matter the severity of his or her condition.
Getting Help With Your AL Amyloidosis Claim
If you are a veteran with AL Amyloidosis and are seeking assistance with your VA disability claim, our experienced veterans disability attorneys are ready to help. We have years of experience helping veterans with AL amyloidosis due to Agent Orange exposure get the compensation they deserve and are ready to help you win your claim. Please contact our office today for a free claim evaluation.