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Lung Health

Taking a deep breath should be easy. If you are concerned about your lungs or respiratory (breathing) health, or if you have symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath, talk with your VA health care provider.

Your deployment location(s) and job-related functions in the military may increase your risk of lung and breathing conditions. For example, research has shown that exposures to particulate matter pollution from sand, dust, extreme temperatures, oil well fires, and burn pits during the Gulf War and post-9/11 eras are associated with development of asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis.

Consider helping your fellow Veterans by joining the VA Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pit Registry. You can receive a free exam, learn about your own respiratory health, and support research studies.

What services does VA provide for lung health?

  • Smoking cessation resources. If you are a woman Veteran who smokes, you may experience difficulties getting pregnant or may be at-risk for early menopause, osteoporosis, and cervical and breast cancers. VA offers a variety of smoking cessation resources so that you and your loved ones can experience the benefits of becoming tobacco free.
  • Screening and treatment for lung conditions including lung cancer. For more information on symptoms of lung cancer, screening guidelines, and VA recommendations for screening, see the VA Screening for Lung Cancer fact sheet.
  • Immunizations. Protecting your lungs means preventing infection. VA can help keep you up-to-date on the immunizations you need to prevent illnesses.
  • Adaptive Sports Program. Being physically active can help keep your lungs healthy. VA provides adaptive sports opportunities for health and healing.

How do I access services for lung health at VA?

You can start by telling your VA primary care provider about your lung health or breathing concerns.

If you don't already use VA health care, you you may want to use the following online tools:

Find out if you are eligible for VA health care.

Enroll in VA health care if you haven't already.

Find your local VA and make an appointment.

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The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to women's health

If you have questions or can't find what you're looking for, you can call, text, or chat online with the Women Veterans Call Center (WVCC) at 855-829-6636 to get help and find available resources and services in your area. Trained women representatives can also help you with issues such as:

  • Enrolling in VA health care if you have not already
  • Setting up a medical appointment in your area
  • Answering questions about eligibility (including questions about disability ratings) and other VA benefits like employment, education, and home loans

WVCC representatives are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. ET, and Saturday, 8:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. ET.

Can I get disability compensation (monthly payments) or other benefits from VA related to lung conditions?

In August 2021, VA announced they would start processing disability claims for asthma, rhinitis, and sinusitis on a presumptive basis for particulate matter (PM) exposures during military service in Southwest Asia and certain other areas—if these conditions manifested within 10 years of a qualifying period of military service. This decision was based on research that found an association between PM pollution and these three conditions for Veterans who served in the Southwest Asia Theater of operations beginning Aug. 2, 1990, to the present, or Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Syria or Djibouti beginning Sept. 19, 2001 to the present. For more information, call the VA Benefits Hotline at 800-827-1000 or read about your eligibility *.

Where can I find more information, help, and resources on lung health?

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* By clicking on these links, you will leave the Department of Veterans Affairs Web site.
† VA does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of the linked Web site.

The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to VA. The Women Veterans Call Center is your guide to VA.
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