Recent studies, including a report on recommendations by the National Academies of Science for Veterans and Agent Orange, are showing a link between service-related exposure to herbicides and high blood pressure in Veterans who served in Vietnam between 1965 and 1973.
The study included a survey related to herbicidal exposure, asking Veterans whether they had ever been diagnosed with hypertension by their doctor, and about health behaviors such as smoking and alcohol use. Self-reported hypertension was indicated at 81.6% for those who distributed or maintained herbicides in Vietnam, 77.4% for those who sprayed herbicides and served in the Vietnam War but never in Southeast Asia (non-Vietnam Veterans), 72.2% for those who served in Vietnam but did not spray herbicides, and 64.4% for those who did not spray herbicides and were non-Vietnam Veterans.
Those Veterans who were herbicide sprayers while in Vietnam were estimated to be at 1.74 times higher risk than non-sprayers, while the odds of hypertension among those who served in Vietnam were 1.26 times higher among non-Vietnam Veterans.
The result of these studies is that the VA is now considering adding hypertension as a presumptive service condition for Vietnam Veterans. To learn more about these studies, visit the VA website.