The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that 110,000 veterans have Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Most people with Parkinson’s develop symptoms at 50 years of age or older. One million people in the U.S. live with Parkinson’s today. This number will rise as our population ages, as will the number of veterans diagnosed with the disease. While living with Parkinson's can be challenging, an early diagnosis and beginning treatment can help people live well with Parkinson's.
While the exact cause of Parkinson’s is unknown, research suggests that its cause can be linked to genetic and environmental factors. In addition, for some veterans, developing Parkinson’s disease can be associated with exposure to Agent Orange or other herbicides during military service. Veterans with PD who were exposed to certain herbicides during their service may be eligible for disability compensation and health care.
For everyone with Parkinson’s, an accurate diagnosis is critical because treatments and resources are available to help people with Parkinson’s live better lives. Many U.S. military veterans with Parkinson’s have access to specialized medical care and financial assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Veterans and their families can get help with applying for care and benefits from an accredited representative or Veterans Service Officer (VSO) at the VA webpage: Get help filing your claim or appeal.
Veterans and their families can call 1-800-MyVA411 (1-800-698-2411), a single access point to all VA contact centers. The number is available 24 hours-a-day, 365 days-a-year to serve Veterans, their families, caregivers and survivors.
Available Parkinson’s Foundation Resources
You are not alone. The Parkinson’s Foundation has free, available resources for people with Parkinson’s and those who love them. From our Newly Diagnosed resources to our PD Library and our virtual community at PDConversations.org. Not sure where to begin? Call our Helpline at 1-800-4PD-INFO (473-4636) for answers to your Parkinson’s questions.
For more insights on this topic, listen to our podcast episode “Veterans Day Bonus Episode”.