What If You Conducted The Study After You Separated Or Retired
Most veterans fall in the category of conducting a sleep study when they got out , and it was evident by the doctor that you had sleep apnea and had a CPAP machine. Acquiring a CPAP machine still does not constitute an automatic claim approval. On the bright side, since the VA provided the CPAP machine, that means its in your medical records.
Your medical records are essential in all of your claims. Especially when it comes to sleep apnea, a complex process where most of the information will depend on how well its been service-connected.
Sleep Apnea Secondary To Obesity
Weight gain was one of the side effects of the pain management medication he was taking. Medical research studies from the Mayo Clinic were cited in the medical Nexus opinion, which clearly met the showing of causation, standard BECAUSE the Obstructive Sleep Apnea on a secondary basis was shown to be proximately due to, or the result of, the Plantar Fasciitis.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea has been medically linked to weight gain, which shows causation. Thus, as a result of the veterans weight gain, the medical Nexus letter stated that the Obstructive Sleep Apnea was at least as likely as not to have been proximately due to or the result of the medication side effects, through an interim link of aggravated obesity, in which the medications were taken to manage the pain of his Plantar Fasciitis. ;
So now Iveprobably got you thinking, what can you possibly connect on a secondary basisdue to side effects of any medications youre taking for your current disabilities?
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The Connection Between Ptsd And Sleep Apnea
Theres plenty of scientific evidence about the benefits of CPAP regardless of other underlying conditions, but particularly for patients with high blood pressure. One study found that adhering to CPAP therapy for more than 70 percent of the time can help decrease blood pressure and related stress.
While the normal signs and symptoms of sleep apnea are typically based around age and weight, in PTSD patients these factors dont seem to matter. Rather, its usually existing sleep disorders and chronic stress that put them at a higher risk for developing sleep apnea. In addition to nightmares, other symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks of the event, anxiety attacks, and irrational thoughts about the event. These symptoms can occur within days, months, or even years after the event.
There is also evidence that adhering to CPAP therapy, despite its obvious benefits, is still a challenge. This is because there are several other side effects related to PTSD and sleep disturbances, and its easy to see why: there are over 80 different types of sleep-related conditions. Conducting research on comorbidity, the medical term for someone with multiple overlapping conditions, on every sleep-related condition would be nearly impossible.;
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Anxiety And Sleep Apnea: The Sleep/health Connection
Anxiety and sleep apnea are like fish and water: Find one, and youll usually find the other, too.
This connection is supported by more and more studies as the years pass. For example, in December 2012, a major European;medical journal published a study1;finding that more than half of patients diagnosed with sleep disorders had some degrees of depression and anxiety.
The study noted that sleep apnea was not associated with the severity of anxiety, only the presence of it. But other sources have made the connection between sleep apnea and anxiety at its most severe levels namely, post-traumatic stress disorder . According to;The New York Times Health Guide, sleep apnea may intensify symptoms of PTSD, including sleeplessness and nightmares. The guide notes that sleep apnea is also sometimes associated with a risk for panic disorder. 2
A 2005;study by the journal;SLEEP3;helps clarify the anxiety and sleep apnea connection. Compared with patients not yet diagnosed with sleep apnea, those who were diagnosed experienced a significantly greater prevalence for mood disorders, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and dementia in patients with sleep apnea, the study found.
This blog post contains general information about medical conditions and potential treatments. It is not medical advice.;If you have any medical questions, please consult your doctor.
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Treatment Of Insomnia In Ptsd
There are two primary approaches to treating sleep problems in PTSD, psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy . To date, little is known about the efficacy of using both approaches concurrently. The recommended first-line treatment approach in the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for PTSD is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia , when available , which is agreeable to the American College of Physicians first-line recommended treatment approach for sleep problems and the VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guideline for Chronic Insomnia Disorder and Obstructive Sleep Apnea recommendation for treating chronic insomnia .
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Diabetes Secondary To Sleep Apnea
Diabetes is a disease where the blood sugar inside of the body is too high. This is caused by the body creating an inadequate amount of insulin, which helps the sugar in the bloodstream to create energy for the body. When there isnt enough, or any insulin, the body will keep the sugar, also known as glucose, in the bloodstream, which can link to a whole host of health issues. As time goes on, the excessive glucose in the bloodstream can damage the eyes, heart, kidneys, and nerves. These health issues are incredibly damaging, so diabetes needs to be dealt with as quickly as possible to ensure that the disease progresses as little as possible.;
Diabetes is often caused by problems with obesity, which is the condition of having too much excess weight on the body. It can be harmful to many areas of the body, as well as causing heart problems and conditions that link to shorter lifespans. Certain types of sleep apnea is often linked to obesity because the stress and inability to properly rest and maintain a stable metabolism cause issues in many other areas of the body. These problems can all come together to create issues that are often very negative and very dangerous.;
Secondary To A Current Rated Disability
One solution is to claim secondary to a current rated disability, such as PTSD . Why PTSD? Research has shown that having PTSD has a higher chance of developing sleep apnea. The connection between the two is directly correlated.
A secondary condition occurs when a service-connected condition, or treatment for that condition, causes or aggravates another condition. That other condition would be secondarily service-connected. By understanding what a secondary condition is, it will be easier to connect the dots in the primary state.
Because proving your sleep apnea claim is such a complicated process, many veterans go the route of obtaining a rated PTSD disability by the VA. Most vets can vouch for PTSD while in the service. Again, you will need to gather the medical information to prove your PTSD.
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The Connection Between Sleep Apnea And Ptsd
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event, like war, criminal assault, abuse, terrorism, natural disaster, or a car or plane crash. The National Center for PTSD estimates 7 to 8 percent of people experience PTSD at some point in their lives. People with PTSD experience a variety of symptoms including flashbacks, memory problems, and the tendency to feel on edge or become easily startled.
Sleep problems are another common symptom of PTSD. The sleep disorders; most associated with PTSD are insomnia and nightmares. However, emerging research indicates a strong association between PTSD and another sleep disorder: sleep apnea.
Individuals with obstructive sleep apnea experience temporary lapses in breathing during the night, often accompanied by loud snoring, choking, or gasping sounds. When these symptoms occur, the brain has to kick-start breathing again, disrupting sleep. As a result, individuals with OSA wake up feeling unrefreshed and suffer from excessive sleepiness throughout the day even when theyve slept through the night.
Sleep Tips For Partners Of People With Ptsd
While most efforts are focused on how to help someone with PTSD sleep, the partners of people with PTSD may also find it difficult to sleep soundly. For those with a partner who wakes up multiple times during the night, it may help to invest in a mattress that muffles sound and movement.
Nightmares and night terrors can be frightening and may cause your partner to lash out violently. Though you want to be there for your partner, you may find it necessary to sleep in a separate, nearby bedroom from time to time so you can get the restful sleep you need.
It may also be constructive to do exercise together with your partner during the day. In addition to improving sleep, developing healthy routines together can help you bond and help re-establish a sense of security for your partner.
Many caregivers struggle with feelings of guilt and a sense that they are responsible for saving their partner. However, pouring all your energy into helping another person can have a serious effect on your own mental health. Couples therapy, individual therapy, support groups, or a strong network of family and friends may help you manage your own thoughts and feelings to reduce the risk of burnout.
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Ptsd And Sleep Apnea: Does Ptsd Cause Sleep Apnea
The connection between PTSD and sleep apnea is a growing area of study.
Sleep apnea is among the most worrying conditions a person can have, as it involves the inability to breathe properly during periods of sleep.;
There are different kinds of sleep apnea, including obstructive sleep apnea . You could also suffer from central or mixed sleep apnea.;
Reasons for the development of sleep apnea are difficult to pin down, but doctors have linked everything from obesity to muscle issues to the condition. Now, it appears PTSD and sleep apnea may also be linked.;
Today, were going to look at the connection between PSTD and sleep apnea, and what people can do if they believe both of these conditions are affecting them in tandem.;
Can Ptsd Cause Sleep Apnea
One study concluded that veterans with PTSD are at a higher risk to develop chronic stress, high blood pressure, and sleep deprivation. Participants ranged from 21 to 59 years old, and 93 percent of participants were male. Subjects were monitored for a period of time, and doctors began to draw links between the severity of their PTSD symptoms and the risk of developing OSA. The doctors eventually concluded that nearly seventy percent were found to be at a high risk for OSA.;
The PTSD and sleep apnea research was unique in that it wasnt based around the normal symptoms that could lead to the development of sleep apnealike obesity or older agebut rather with the present sleep issues the PTSD patients were experiencing, which demonstrated how the issues may increase their risk for developing sleep apnea in their lifetime.
This provided further understanding on other conditions that may trigger sleep apnea. As a result, the U.S. Department of Defense was advised to screen all veterans for sleep apnea secondary to PTSD, regardless of the severity of their PTSD symptoms, age, or weight since they are already at risk.
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The Importance Of Sleep In Treating Ptsd
Sleep disorders can only compound the emotional and psychological issues associated with PTSD. Poor sleep on its own is linked to depression, higher stress levels, and an increase in negative emotions. Not being able to get a good nights sleep and the ensuing emotional and physical strain is a significant stumbling block in the way of returning to mental health.;
Additionally, sleeping well during the night is vital for performing well during the day. Veterans who cant sleep find it even more difficult to readjust to civilian life, hold down jobs and maintain relationships. ;Sleep disturbance puts them at higher risk to turn to self-medication through substance abuse, self-destructive behaviors or to develop mental disorders.;
Part of the;solution to this problem is to recognize the extremely high prevalence of sleep disorders in vets and to screen for and treat such sleep-related issues as part of their routine treatment. Returning our troops to emotional health cant happen until they are able to get the rest and restoration they need.
If you or a loved one is a veteran with PTSD, or if youre having trouble sleeping for any other reason, we can help diagnose and treat your sleep problems to put your mind and body at rest. Contact us;or request a sleep study to get on the road to reclaiming your sleep.
Sleep Apnea Must Be Service
As the phrase implies, Service-connected means that the disability aggravated while in service. If you were diagnosed while in the service, and you have consistent documentation, then you have a better chance of getting a service-connection. Unfortunately, there arent a lot of cases where sleep apnea is commonly diagnosed in the service.
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Mental Health And Sleep
If youve ever missed a night of sleep, you know how difficult it can be to function the next day. With a disorder that commonly disrupts your sleep, you may feel like that every day. When you cant sleep, you may gain weight and feel fatigued.
Mental health has been found to worsen when sleep deprivation is present. For people who suffer from sleep issues and a mental health disorder, the two can affect each other in a vicious cycle. A lack of sleep can cause your mental condition to worsen, and when your mental health worsens you may have more trouble sleeping.
The good news is that this relationship can also be affected positively. When one condition is treated with positive results, the other condition usually improves as well. The link between mental and physical health can be used for the betterment of your life.
Other Methods For Reducing Stress To Improve Sleep
Another method is picturing yourself asleep. By envisioning yourself in a peaceful sleep, you will instantly put yourself in a state of relaxation.
While exercising right before bed can sometimes keep you awake, gentle leg exercises are unlikely to negatively affect your sleep. Low energy exercises such as leg lifts and squats help bring blood flow down to your legs. This can have a soothing effect and make it easier to drift off.
Exercise is a great stress reliever and has been shown to improve the quality of sleep. You should make sure that you do not do more intense workouts close to bedtime.
When your mind is racing and full of concerns and worries, it can be hard to fall asleep. Instead, set aside 15 minutes during the day to process these thoughts. Writing a to-do list or thinking about solutions can be a healthy way to deal with stress. Thinking about your to-do list and worries earlier in the day can help you fall asleep easily. You will keep a clear mind before bedtime through this method.
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Get Help For Sleep Apnea And Ptsd
If youre having trouble with sleeping at any point, due to anxiety, feelings of stress, or symptoms of PTSD, you should speak to a doctor as soon as possible. If your sleep partner complains of loud snoring, or mentions changes in your breathing during sleep, speak to a professional.;
Its also important to seek help if you wake up gasping in the night and wake up feeling exhausted after a long night of rest. Other symptoms can be waking up with a dry mouth, headaches and daytime sleepiness.;
The faster you speak to a doctor about your sleep concerns and conditions, the quicker you can get the kind of treatment you need to overcome these problems. Remember, CPAP and talk therapies both have a profound impact over time.;
Siestio. Sleep Matters.
Medical disclaimerYou must not rely on the information provided on our website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other healthcare professionals. For more information read our full disclaimer;here.
Why Veterans Are Likely To Suffer From Sleep Apnea
A study out of the San Diego, California VA reported that high risk of sleep apnea was associated with an increased tendency for post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms. If you, like many service members, have severe side effects from PTSD, you are 40% more likely to be considered high risk for sleep apnea.;
The implication is that veterans who come to PTSD treatment, even younger veternals, should be screened for obstructive sleep apnea so they can have the opportunity to be diagnosed and treated, said San Diego VA researcher Sonya Norman, PhD.
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Sleep Apnea And Breathing Problems In Vets
Sleep apnea is estimated to affect about 5% of the population in the United States. However, its incidence in men with PTSD has been shown to be much higher.
One study^1;of 136;vets with PTSD found that a staggering;77% of vets tested positive for sleep apnea.;Another study^2;of 105 Vietnam-era vets found that 70% of the vets had this sleep disorder.
Even in young veterans, the severity of PTSD is positively correlated to risk of obstructive sleep apnea ;^3.
The outcomes of these studies, showing a strong correlation between PTSD and sleep apnea, have lead to some doctors recommending that all vets be screened for sleep apnea as part of their treatment.;