Hypertension is described as high arterial blood pressure. It is present if the diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) is 90 or more and systolic pressure (top number) is 140 or more, or if both are present. It has to be confirmed by readings taken two of more times on at least three different days.
In general, a rating for a disability will not be based on whether or not medication is helping the disability. However, the Court has stated that a Veteran may not be denied entitlement to a higher rating on the basis of relief provided by medication when “those effects are not specifically contemplated by the rating criteria.” So, if the rating criteria considers whether or not medication helps with the disability, the rating will only be determined based on the evidence of the disability after medication, not based on non-medicated symptoms. Hypertension is rated under 38 C.F.R. § 4.104, under diagnostic code 7101. The Court has stated that diagnostic code 7101 DOES contemplate the effects of medication.
What this means is that the rating chart for hypertension, listed as Diagnostic Code 7101, specifically looks to see if hypertension is regulated by medication. If the readings for hypertension are controlled by those medications, the rating will be based on the blood pressure readings while on medication. If your blood pressure is controlled while on medication, you most likely would not be entitled to a higher rating of hypertension.
There are other disabilities and diagnostic codes that also are rated based on whether or not medication controls the symptoms. However, unless a diagnostic code specifically considers the relief afforded by medication, the VA cannot use medicine as a weapon to lower a rating.
There is a good chance that the VA may have under evaluated disabilities based on medication relief, but when the diagnostic code does not allow the VA to consider the relief afforded by medication. If you need an advocate to review your previous ratings to determine if it was under evaluated, call us at 251-343-1111 or 1-800-332-1529. Dealing with the VA can be frustrating, but it is your benefits. Making that one little call and having a representative can make a huge difference. We would love to help you today. Gardberg and Kemmerly has experienced Veterans’ Disability attorneys willing to help you claim the benefits you deserve.