Monday, 23 September 2013

A Summary Of How Agent Orange Can Cause Neuropathy

Today's post from (see link below) is a summary of the US government's final acknowledgement of the neuropathic effects of agent orange in war situations (amongst other things such as birth defects). Agent orange and other herbicides can cause nerve damage and many veterans of wars in Korea and Vietnam (as well as local populations) have neuropathic problems as a result of exposure. The Red Cross of Vietnam estimated that up to a million people are disabled or have health problems due to Agent Orange. The US government has consistently challenged these figures but had to face the facts when it came down to their own servicemen, having clear and obvious nerve damage problems as a result of agent orange and other defoliants. You may well have seen other articles on the internet relating to agent orange and neuropathy and wondered what link there was to the neuropathy that we're all familiar with; this short official article puts it in a nutshell. Many prominent neuropathy sufferers have fought long and hard for official recognition of the problem.

Peripheral Neuropathy And Agent Orange September 2013

VA presumes Veterans' early-onset peripheral neuropathy is related to their exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during service when the disease appears within one year of exposure to a degree of at least 10 percent disabling by VA’s rating regulations. VA's final regulation eliminating the requirement that symptoms resolve within two years took effect on Sept. 6, 2013.

About peripheral neuropathy

Peripheral neuropathy is a condition of the peripheral nervous system, which consists of nerves outside the brain and spinal cord.

Symptoms include numbness, tingling or prickling in the toes or fingers in early stages. This may spread to the feet or hands and may cause burning, throbbing or shooting pain that is worse at night. Other symptoms include pain equally in both sides of the body (in both hands or in both feet), muscle weakness, loss of balance or coordination, and extreme sensitivity to touch.

Visit MedlinePlus to learn more about peripheral neuropathy, treatment, the latest medical research, and more from the National Institutes of Health.
VA benefits for early-onset peripheral neuropathy

Veterans with early-onset peripheral neuropathy that appeared within one year of exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides to a degree of at least 10 percent disabling by VA’s rating regulations may be eligible for disability compensation and health care.

Veterans who served in Vietnam, the Korean demilitarized zone or another area where Agent Orange was sprayed may be eligible for a free Agent Orange registry health exam.
Research on peripheral neuropathy and herbicides used in Vietnam

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences concluded in its report Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 1996 that there is some evidence to suggest that neuropathy of acute or subacute onset may be associated with herbicide exposure. Based on this evidence, VA presumed an association between herbicide exposure during service and acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy.

The IOM report Veterans and Agent Orange: Update 2010 concluded that there is "limited or suggestive evidence of an association" between herbicide exposure and "early-onset peripheral neuropathy that may be persistent". In response to this report, VA eliminated the requirement that acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy appear within "within weeks or months" after exposure and resolve within two years. The final regulation took effect Sept. 6, 2013.

View more research on health effects of Agent Orange.

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