Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that form in your kidneys. They're made up of minerals and salts that have crystallized in your urine. Kidney stones can range in size from tiny grains of sand to large pearls.
Anyone who has ever passed a kidney stone knows how incredibly painful it can be. But did you know that you may be eligible for VA disability benefits if you can provide evidence that your kidney stones were caused by your military service? Our experienced Veterans benefits attorneys can help you establish a service connection and maximize your available monthly compensation.
What Causes Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones can have many different causes. Some of the most common include:
- Obesity. Being overweight is associated with high levels of calcium in the urine, which increases your risk of forming kidney stones.
- Dehydration. Not drinking enough fluids can cause minerals and other substances to become concentrated in the urine and increase the risk of stone formation.
- Family history. If you have close blood relatives with a history of kidney stones, you are more likely to develop them.
- Diet. Eating a diet high in salt, sugar, and protein can increase the risk of forming kidney stones.
- Medications. Certain medications, such as diuretics, calcium-containing antacids, and some migraine medications, can increase the risk of kidney stone formation.
How Are Kidney Stones Rated by the VA?
The VA rates kidney stones as a service-connected disability under 38 CFR 4.115b. You can receive a 30% rating if you require diet therapy, drug therapy, or procedures to remove kidney stones at least twice per year.
Kidney stones can also be rated as analogous to hydronephrosis, which is listed under diagnostic code 7509. Hydronephrosis involves the swelling of one or both kidneys. It can be rated at 10%, 20%, or 30%, depending on the frequency of renal colic—a condition that occurs when a kidney stone gets stuck in the urinary tract.
- A 30% rating requires frequent attacks of colic with infection and impaired kidney function.
- A 20% rating requires frequent attacks of colic with catheter drainage.
- A 10% rating requires occasional attacks of colic that are not infected and do not need catheter drainage.
How Are Kidney Stones Related to Hyperparathyroidism?
Hyperparathyroidism is the most common disability that allows Veterans to receive a secondary service connection for kidney stones. The VA rates hyperparathyroidism under 38 C.F.R. 4.119 Diagnostic Code 7904. This condition can receive a rating of 10%, 60%, or 100%.
Hyperparathyroidism is a condition in which the parathyroid gland produces too much of the hormone, parathyroid hormone (PTH). High levels of PTH increase calcium absorption from the intestines and decrease its excretion through urine, resulting in higher levels of calcium in the urine. This can lead to an increased risk of developing kidney stones. Other symptoms linked to hyperparathyroidism include muscle weakness, fatigue, depression, vomiting, nausea, constipation, bone pain, and weight loss.
How Are Kidney Stones Related to Diabetes?
Having Type 2 diabetes more than doubles a person's risk of developing kidney stones. This is because high blood sugar levels can cause the kidneys to excrete more calcium and other minerals, which can accumulate and form stones. In addition, people with diabetes are often dehydrated due to high urine output, and dehydration can also increase the chances of developing kidney stones.
If you have service-connected diabetes, you may be able to receive a secondary service connection for your kidney stones. Agent Orange exposure is one of the most common ways Veterans receive a service connection for diabetes.
How Can a VA Disability Attorney Help You Get Benefits for Kidney Stones?
If you're seeking VA disability benefits for your kidney stones, it's important to seek out the help of an experienced Veterans disability attorney who can guide you through the application process and ensure that all of the necessary evidence is properly submitted to support your claim.
The office of Sean Kendall, Attorney-at-Law, has helped countless Veterans obtain the disability benefits they deserve and we would be honored to do the same for you. Call (877) 629-1712 or contact us online to schedule a free, no-obligation initial consultation.