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Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a disease of the central nervous system, characterized by the death of dopamine producing cells in the brain. With less dopamine, a person has less ability to control their movements, body, and emotions.

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

Symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease are generally classified as motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms. Motor symptoms include:

  • rigidity
  • tremors
  • delayed movement
  • poor balance

Non-motor symptoms include:

  • sleep disturbances
  • urinary dysfunction
  • constipation
  • swallowing problems
  • mood disorders
  • cognitive deficits

The typical age of onset for Parkinson’s Disease is 60 and the exact cause is unknown.  

Veterans and Parkinson’s Disease

The VA estimates that there are 80,000 veterans with Parkinson’s Disease. There is no cure for Parkinson’s, but there are several treatment options, including medications and other therapies.

There are several categories of veterans that may be at an increased risk for Parkinson’s Disease due to exposures or injuries that occurred during service. 

In 2010, the VA announced that Parkinson’s Disease would be added to the list of diseases and cancers VA has recognized as presumptively associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides. These veterans can now receive disability compensation without being required to show that their Parkinson’s is connected to their military service. 

Veterans who served at Camp Lejeune may also be at an increased risk for Parkinson’s Disease. Veterans who served at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and/or Marine Corps Air Station New River between August 1, 1953 and December 31, 1987 may have been exposed to contaminated drinking water. The VA has created a presumption of service connection for eight diseases, including PD, for service members who served at Camp Lejeune or New River during this time period.

There is also scientific evidence that traumatic brain injury (TBI) can lead to an increased risk of PD. TBI is a common injury for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, often caused by firebombs and roadside bombs. Veterans with TBI should be aware of the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease due to their increased risk of developing the disease.

Veterans that do not receive a presumption of service-connection for PD can still apply for benefits. They will have to provide proof of service-connection for their Parkinson’s.

If your claim for veterans disability compensation for Parkinson’s Disease has been denied, get help from an experienced veterans attorney. Chisholm Chisholm & Kilpatrick has over 25 years of experience helping veterans like you get the benefits they deserve. Call us at 401-331-6300 to discuss your claim. 


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