What Happens If Severe Sleep Apnea Is Not Treated
If left untreated, the effects of sleep apnea can get worse. Sleep is an important part of the bodys recovery process frequent interrupted sleep can raise stress levels, resulting in high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. Sleep apnea has also been linked to stroke and Type 2 diabetes.
Related Case: Cpap Recall
On June 14, 2021, Philips announced a recall notification for some of their CPAP and other machines. Philips is one of, if not the, largest manufacturers of CPAP/Auto CPAP/BiPAP devices and therefore many people who use these devices will likely be affected by the recall.
Philips has determined from testing that the polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam used to reduce the noise of the machine may be harmful to those who use it.
If you use a Philips brand machine and have had adverse side effects, you may be eligible for compensation due to this recall.
About Va Claims Insider
VA Claims insider is an education-based coaching/consulting company. Were here for disabled veterans exploring eligibility for increased VA disability benefits and who wish to learn more about that process. We also connect veterans with independent medical professionals in our referral network for medical examinations, disability evaluations, and credible Independent Medical Opinions & Nexus Statements for a wide range of disability conditions.
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Mental Health Conditions Secondary To Sleep Apnea
Like PTSD, other conditions rated as mental health conditions can be related to sleep apnea. Specifically, both anxiety and depression can be linked to sleep apnea.
Anxiety and depression can interfere with a persons sleep patterns, as well as cause symptoms of hyperarousal or hypervigilance. As such, a veteran with anxiety and depression faces a higher risk of sleep apnea.
If a veteran is service-connected for anxiety or depression, they may be able to receive secondary service connection for their sleep apnea. Veterans may also receive secondary service connection for anxiety and depression if they are already service-connected for sleep apnea.
Relationship Between Hypertension And Sleep Apnea
According to the American Heart Association journals and other research, obstructive sleep apnea is highly relevant to patients with hypertension.
- An estimated 50 percent of patients with hypertension also have obstructive sleep apnea.
- Obstructive sleep apnea represents the most prevalent secondary contributor to hypertension.
- Another study found that people with untreated sleep apnea were 6 times more likely to experience cardiovascular complications, such as hypertension.
Researchers believe that when breathing is restricted, oxygen levels in the body decrease, thereby causing an increase in blood flow. Increased blood flow places additional pressure on the blood vessels walls, ultimately causing higher-than-normal blood pressure levels. Overall, there is a clear causal relationship between sleep apnea and the development of hypertension.
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Va Disability For Insomnia
Insomnia is a chronic sleep disorder that involves an inability to fall asleep and/or difficulty staying asleep throughout the night. This condition can have a negative impact on social and occupational functioning. While it is possible that a veterans insomnia began in service, it is common for it to develop later on as a result of another disability.
If the causal condition is already service-connected, then service connection for insomnia may be granted on a secondary basis. For example, insomnia is associated with psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD.
Additionally, insomnia can be caused by chronic pain from other disabilities. VA tends to rate insomnia as a component of the underlying disability. For example, if a veteran is service-connected for PTSD and suffers from insomnia as a result of the PTSD, it is possible VA will consider insomnia in its overall evaluation of the veterans PTSD disability rating.
Another example could be if a veteran is service-connected for an orthopedic condition that causes chronic pain and insomnia, VA might assign a separate disability rating for insomnia based on the schedule of ratings for mental disorders.
How Sleep Apnea Impacts Veterans
Sleep impacts a persons mental, physical, and emotional health. Sleep is required to function. How sleep apnea can impact a veteran differs from person to person however, in some cases, the veteran is unable to work because of the extent of hypersomnia and difficulty to focus. One out of five veterans have obstructive sleep apnea, and the number has been increasing over the years. Bosley & Bratch understands how detrimental sleep apnea can be in a veterans life, we want to help.
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Pack Your Claim With 5
A single sleep apnea sleep study diagnosing sleep apnea is rarely going to be enough to prove your claim.
Youre going to need lay and medical evidence to build the causative chain of symptoms and diagnoses.
Youre going to want to start with your time in service, and build the lay and medical evidence to show the VA that all or your sleep apnea symptoms and limitations and diagnoses over whatever duration of time all share one thing in common they are related to or had their origin in your military service.
What do I mean?
If you just had symptoms and limitations of sleep apnea in service and a post-discharge diagnosis, youre going to have to make it obvious that the symptoms and the diagnosis are related.
If you had a diagnosis of sleep apnea in service AND a post-service diagnosis of sleep apnea unless the 2 diagnoses are really close together and diagnose the same type of sleep apnea, youre going to need to connect them together for the VA with lay evidence and a medical opinion.
Dont just use lay evidence.
Dont just use medical evidence.
Use them both together. Using one without the other is like running a marathon barefoot even if you could do it, why would you make it so hard on yourself?
Va Ratings For Disability
The VA is responsible for compensating veterans for disabilities earned during their time in the service. To determine how much money an individual will receive, they use a percentage-based rating system ranging from 0-100 using increments of 10 . VA ratings depend on the severity of a disability, which part of the body is affected, and how much of a hindrance the disability is to an individuals daily duties.
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How Much Does A Sleep Apnea Va Disability Benefits Lawyer Cost
Your Woods and Woods sleep apnea VA disability benefits lawyer will never charge a penny unless we win your claim. Our fee is 20% of back pay and case expenses. Your sleep apnea VA disability benefits lawyer will never ask for money upfront. If you lose your veterans disability benefits claim, you dont owe us a penny. We even help with the application process for sleep apnea claims for free. The advice is free and so is the call.
Relationship Between Sleep Apnea And Depression
Current research supports the link between sleep apnea and depression. Specifically, people who suffer from sleep apnea are 21-39 percent more likely to have depression than those who do not have sleep apnea. There are multiple theories suggesting why this correlation may exist, including the following:
- Patients with sleep apnea suffer a lack of oxygen, which may cause changes to the brain resulting in depression. Similarly, sleep apnea may cause inflammation in the body and affect neurotransmitter activity, which could then contribute to symptoms of depression.
- Sleep apnea causes fatigue, exhaustion, and hypersomnolence. As a result, managing the requirements of a normal routine becomes increasingly more challenging. The difficulty with daily life can lead to the onset of depression. Clinical studies have supported the relationship between extreme drowsiness and fatigue and depression.
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How Will The Va Rating Changes For Sleep Apnea Affect My Disability
Sleep apnea is a breathing disorder that interrupts a persons breathing. This interruption can last from 10 to 30 seconds and may occur up to 400 times a night for those who suffer from a severe case of this condition. Because sleep apnea is both a chronic and progressive condition, it usually worsens over time.
Those who suffer from this chronic condition are at risk of a variety of problems, including four times greater risk of stroke, three times greater risk of heart disease, and an increased chance of being involved in a traffic accident. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration , drowsy driving related to symptoms of sleep apnea is responsible for 100,000 car accidents and over 1,500 deaths a year.
Veterans are particularly susceptible to sleep apnea. Over 420,000 veterans who served in the military following 9/11 and receive disability from the United States Department of Veterans Affairs have sleep apnea that is service-connected. And although there are many causes of this condition, including age, obesity, and a deviated septum, many doctors believe this condition is also caused by long-term exposure to chemicals and dust. Military personnel often work and fight in environments that contribute to sleep apnea.
Sleep Apnea As A Secondary Va Claim
Service connection on a secondary basis requiresa showing of causation.
A showing of causation requires that thesecondary disability be shown to be proximately caused by or proximatelyaggravated by another service-connected disability.
The first part can be satisfied with anyexisting medical evidence in service treatment records, VA medical records, orany private medical records.
The second part can be satisfied with aveterans existing service-connected disability rated at 0 percent or higher.
The third part can be satisfied with a medicalnexus letter from a qualified medical professional.
Did you know there are more than 40+ conditions that can be medically linked to cause or aggravate sleep apnea?
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Va Disability Benefits For Sleep Apnea
Winning a VA disability claim for sleep apnea is an uphill battle, but it isnt impossible. With the information presented here, you can work with your VA disability attorney to evaluate the strength of your sleep apnea disability claim and decide whether applying for VA disability compensation is the best path for you.
How Does The Va Qualify Eligibility For Sleep Apnea
Veterans can only receive disability benefits for sleep apnea if they can prove the medical condition is service-connected.
In other words, patients must prove that a current diagnosis of sleep apnea is related to an in-service event, injury, or illness.
Moreover, a veteran may establish a service connection for sleep apnea through a secondary basis.
In this scenario, the veteran demonstrates that an already service-connected disability contributed to sleep apnea.
The military only accepts service connection on a secondary basis when there is a medical nexus that links the sleep apnea to another service-connected disability.
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How Do You Prove Sleep Apnea Resulted From An In
Sleep apnea is not a presumptive condition for veterans exposed to Agent Orange or ionized radiation, or contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. Veterans of the Persian Gulf War could be entitled to a presumptive status of service-connection for sleep apnea. The VAs regulation concerning Persian Gulf War veterans, 38 § C.F.R. 3.17, states sleep apnea is categorized under sleep disturbances as an undiagnosed illness and medically unexplained chronic multisymptomatic illness.
Veterans can prove service-connection for sleep apnea by showing their sleep apnea began in service using medical records, or by providing a nexus opinion from a certified medical professional linking a current diagnosis of sleep apnea to signs or symptoms experienced in service.
Additionally, veterans can achieve service-connection for sleep apnea on a secondary basis. Establishing a secondary service-connection involves proving your sleep apnea is secondary to, or a residual effect, of a separate condition.
Should I Hire A Sleep Apnea Va Disability Benefits Lawyer
Yes! Sleep apnea VA disability benefits claims can be hard to prove. The Veterans Administrations complex regulations and numerous deadlines can be confusing. We highly suggest you hire a veterans benefits lawyer. Woods and Woods works with teams of doctors, lawyers, vocational experts, case managers, and psychologists to help you win your veterans disability benefits claim for sleep apnea.
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Factors That Influence Sleep Apnea Disability Claims
In summary, you need to prove the following three factors to receive a disability rating for sleep apnea:
An in-service diagnosis of sleep apnea is the clearest path toward approval for VA disability.
However, most service members do not receive a diagnosis while in the military which makes proving that sleep apnea is service-connected much more difficult.
As a result, scheduling a sleep study through a certified clinic is the best means to getting an indisputable diagnosis.
Three Elements Of A Successful Va Sleep Apnea Rating Claim
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Sleep Apnea And Va Disability Claims
Individuals who serve in the military are entitled to compensation if they develop a disability as a result of their time in the service. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs handles the disability claim process and has a list of disabilities it recognizes as more likely to be service-connected. This includes a vast array of mental health issues, brain injuries, and physical conditions that disproportionately affect veterans. One of the more commonly claimed disabilities is sleep apnea.
Tdiu For Sleep Disturbances
Getting a 100 percent schedular rating for sleep conditions can be very difficult to do. Total disability based on individual unemployability provides an alternative avenue for receiving a 100 percent total rating. If you are unable to secure and maintain substantially gainful employment as a result of your service-connected sleep condition, you may be entitled to TDIU.
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Linked Sleep Apnea And Ptsd Symptoms
Research has shown that combat veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, may be at higher risk for sleep apnea than the general population. There are risk factors that overlap in both disorders affecting sleep apnea and symptoms of PTSD, often times aggravating the conditions. Some of these factors are issues that military personnel may have frequently experienced while deployed overseas in active duty or other combat-related duties, such as disturbed sleep in combat, excessive sleep deprivation, sleep fragmentation, hyperarousal, and chronic stress.
Although all of these symptoms contribute to the interaction between sleep apnea and PTSD, the main culprits seem to be sleep deprivation and chronic stress. Studies have shown that war veterans exhibiting these symptoms tend to have increased frequency and length of apneic events.
Asthma Secondary To Sleep Apnea
Asthma is a condition that affects a persons airways and makes it difficult for them to breathe. With asthma, the airways narrow and produce extra mucus. This can often interfere with daily life. Symptoms of asthma can include:
- Shortness of breath
- Trouble sleeping caused by shortness of breath, coughing, or wheezing
- A whistling or wheezing sound when exhaling
- Coughing or wheezing attacks that are worsened by a respiratory virus, such as a cold or the flu
Research has indicated that people who have asthma are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea. This could be because both asthma and sleep apnea affect the upper and lower respiratory tracts. When the throat muscles are weakened due to asthma, there is a greater likelihood for the throat to collapse and create an obstruction of the airway.
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Is Sleep Apnea Considered A Permanent Va Disability
Sleep Apnea is not necessarily a permanent disability.
For example, if your service-connected sleep apnea is secondarily caused by an injury that doesnt allow you to exercise properly and makes you become obese, but after a time in physical therapy you are able to exercise again and lose your weight, then sleep apnea may not be a permanent condition.
Your reevaluation period for your disability rating will be determined when you are given the rating. The reevaluation usually takes place within 2 to 5 years of being granted benefits.
You will get a letter in the mail stating that your reevaluation is coming up, and this likely means that the VA receivednew medical evidence on your case and want to see if you still meetyour current rating.
If you have had a service-connected disability for 10 years or longer, your score cannot be reduced.