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Is Mild Sleep Apnea A Disability

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Continuous Positive Airway Pressure

Treating Sleep Apnea Without a CPAP

As well as;the lifestyle changes mentioned above, people with moderate to severe OSA;will usually;need to;use a continuous positive airway pressure device.

This is a small pump;that;delivers a continuous supply of compressed air to you through a mask that;either covers your nose or your nose and mouth. The compressed air prevents your throat closing.

CPAP can feel peculiar to start with and;you may be tempted to stop using it.;But people who persevere;usually soon;get used to;it and their symptoms improve significantly.

CPAP is available on the NHS and is the most effective therapy for treating severe cases of OSA. As well as reducing symptoms such as snoring and tiredness, it can also reduce the risk of;complications of OSA, such as high blood pressure.

Possible side effects of using a CPAP device can include:

  • mask discomfort
  • nasal congestion, runny nose or irritation
  • difficulty breathing through your nose
  • headaches and ear pain
  • stomach pain and flatulence

Earlier versions of CPAP also often caused problems such as nasal dryness and a sore throat. However, modern versions tend to include humidifiers , which helps to reduce these side effects.

If CPAP causes you discomfort, inform your treatment staff;as the device can be modified to make it more comfortable. For example, you can try using a CPAP machine that starts with a low air pressure and gradually builds up to a higher air pressure as you fall asleep.

Mild Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome Should Not Be Treated

The diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea generally requires a presenting symptom or symptoms and the demonstration of apneas and/or hypopneas per hour of sleep on a formal sleep study. The diagnosis of mild OSA is not well defined but in a 1999 report of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine , definitions of mild OSA by symptoms of sleepiness and AHI were proposed. These definitions will be used in this review.

Mild symptoms were an unwanted sleepiness or involuntary sleep episodes occurring during activities that require little attention. Examples included sleepiness that is likely to occur while watching television, reading, or traveling as a passenger. Symptoms produce only minor impairment of social or occupational function. Mild levels of AHI were 5 to 15 and moderate were 15 to 30.

Although there are many studies that address treatment of OSA, relatively few focus on mild OSA. In addition, there are several potential treatment modalities. For purposes of this review, continuous positive airway pressure will be the main treatment comparator. Interventions such as attempted weight loss, sleep position, sleep hygiene, etc. will be considered part of usual care and not specific treatment of OSA.

In 2006, The AASM published evidence-based practice parameters on the use of CPAP in the treatment of OSA. The recommendation for mild OSA was as follows:

The evidence review that supported the above recommendation concluded as follows:

Confirm A Medical Diagnosis Of Sleep Apnea With A Sleep Specialist

Once youve finished your Sleep Study, its important to review your results with a sleep specialist.

Its crucial to review your Sleep Study results in detail, specifically, to confirm whether you have a medical diagnosis of Sleep Apnea.

By far, the most common Sleep Apnea syndrome in Veterans is called Obstructive Sleep Apnea .

Did you know Veterans are nearly 4x as likely to have Obstructive Sleep Apnea as the average civilian population?

A quick note: According to medical research, the most common cause of Obstructive Sleep Apnea is WEIGHT GAIN / OBESITY.

This is really important!


Because weight gain / obesit is the #1 most common reason why the VA denies Sleep Apnea claims.

The C&P examiners will write some ridiculous denial such as, Its less likely than not that the Veterans Sleep Apnea is due to their military service. The most likely cause is weight gain / obesity, which occurred after they left the military. The Veteran has a BMI above 30.

As Ive explained before, the trouble with the C&P exam system is that medical providers are used to applying medical certainty principles to evaluate probability.

However, the VA rating system is supposed to be non-adversarial and NOT based on medical certainty.

The concept of medical certainty is a much higher standard of proof than is required for a claimant under the VA disability system.

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Mild Sleep Apnea Definition And Symptoms

The definition of mild sleep apnea is, put in its most basic terms, the least-advanced form of obstructive sleep apnea . But you can probably tell that just from its name. The real questions are: Does mild sleep apnea represent a serious health risk? And what are the symptoms of mild sleep apnea you should look out for?

Because mild sleep apnea means your sleep isnt interrupted as often as with more severe cases of sleep apnea, it can be harder to know if you have it. Nonetheless, people who have even a mild form of sleep apnea should be aware of the symptoms and risks, as well as the steps they can take to treat the condition and prevent it from becoming something more serious.

Who Is Eligible For Sleep Apnea Va Disability Benefits

Treating Sleep Apnea May Help AFib Patients

Sleep apnea VA disability benefits are available to veterans who do not have a dishonorable discharge. You are also going to have to prove that your sleep apnea is related to your time in the service or that another service-connected condition has caused your sleep apnea.

Veterans that served in the National Guard and Reserves are generally not eligible for sleep apnea VA disability benefits. However, if you were activated by the federal government, you might be eligible for sleep apnea VA disability benefits. National Guard and Reservists who were activated only by a state government are not eligible for sleep apnea VA disability benefits.

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How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Va Rating

May 2, 2020 By Rich Frankel

For individuals with sleep apnea, every day can be a struggle. A lack of sleep can make it difficult to focus or to complete basic tasks. If you have sleep apnea that is either the result of your military service or was caused by a different service-connected disability, you may be eligible for disability benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs .

The VA provides benefits to veterans with a range of service-connected disabilities. The amount of benefits that you may receive is based on your level of disability, as determined by the VA rating system. Individuals with multiple disabilities related to their service may receive a combined rating.

If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea as a veteran, you may be entitled to VA benefits. An experienced New Jersey veterans disability attorney can help you understand your right to benefits.

How Can You Receive Va Disability For Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common condition that affects about;22 million people nationwide. If you are among the former military service members living with sleep apnea, you may be eligible for veterans;disability compensation. This guide will outline the basics of sleep apnea, how the VA disability rating works for this condition, and how qualifying veterans can prove service connection.

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Physical Exam And Sleep Study

The doctor checks for extra or enlarged tissues in your throat, nose, and mouth, concentrating on the soft palate on the roof of your mouth and the uvula, the tissue hanging at the back of the mouth.

Undergoing a sleep study is the most effective way to diagnose sleep apnea. These tests measure how your body responds to problems during sleep and how well you sleep overall. There are different types of sleep studies done in clinics and sleep labs, but the one doctors choose most often is the polysomnogram .

Va Disability Ratings And Sleep Apnea

How We Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

To qualify for VA benefits for sleep apnea, veterans must first be diagnosed with the condition. This is typically done through a sleep study, either at a clinic or at your home. In addition, there must be evidence that this diagnosis either began during active military service or was made worse during service.; In other words, there must be a current diagnosis, an onset, event or cause in service, and a link or nexus between those two.;;

Even if Sleep Apnea did not specifically begin in service, other conditions may be related.; For example, some studies have found a link between Post-traumatic stress disorder and sleep apnea.; Other conditions may also be related, but ultimately, only a doctor can offer a medical opinion to link a separate service-connected condition with sleep apnea.;

An individual with sleep apnea may be eligible for VA benefits. Under the VA Ratings Schedule, a veteran with sleep apnea may be entitled to 0%, 30%, 50% or 100% benefits for sleep apnea, as follows:

  • 0% Sleep Apnea Rating: asymptomatic, but with documented sleep disorder breathing
  • 30% Sleep Apnea Rating: persistent daytime hypersomnolence
  • 50% Sleep Apnea Rating: requires use of breathing assistance device such as continuous airway pressure machine
  • 100% Sleep Apnea Rating: respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention or cor pulmonale or requires tracheostomy.

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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.

Diagnosing Obstructive Sleep Apnoea

Obstructive sleep apnoea can usually be diagnosed after youve been observed sleeping at a sleep clinic, or by using a testing device worn overnight at home.

If you think you have OSA, its important to visit your GP in case you need to be referred to a sleep specialist for further tests and treatment.

Before seeing your GP, it may be helpful to;ask a partner, friend or relative to observe you while you are asleep if possible. If you have OSA, they may be able to spot episodes of breathlessness.

It may also help to fill out an Epworth Sleepiness Scale questionnaire. This;asks;how likely youll be to;doze off in a number of different situations, such as watching TV or;sitting in a meeting.;The final score will help your doctor;determine whether you may have a sleep disorder.

An online version of the Epworth Sleepiness Scale;can be found on the British Lung Foundation website.

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Is Sleep Apnea A Disability A Guide For Veterans

    Is Sleep Apnea a disability? What are the new VA rules regarding disability claims? How have the rules changed? This article has helpful information about new VA regulations regarding Sleep Apnea as a disability, and also includes a section with information about how PTSD can impact Sleep Apnea. The article also covers how the Social Security Administration views Sleep Apnea disability claims.

    Lower/less Severe Va Ratings

    Diagnosing & Treating Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    0% Rating

    The VA rates sleep apnea at a 0% rating if your condition is asymptomatic, but you have a documented history of sleep disorder breathing.

    Under this rating, its nearly impossible to gain any benefits from the VA as a disability.

    30% Rating

    The VA rates sleep apnea at a 30% rating if you experience hypersomnolence or excessive daytime sleepiness.

    The 30% designation recognizes that the patient is not seeing improvement with a sufficient amount of sleep, or naps during the day.

    Under this rating, you have a higher likelihood of receiving approval yet still are against the odds since the military often does not grant VA disability benefits for this type of condition.

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    Symptoms Of Sleep Apnea

    How do you know if you have a potential problem in this area? There are multiple symptoms to pay attention to. Remember that not all symptoms are automatically an indication of a medical problem, but they are worth paying attention to for future reference if you have some of the more benign types.

    Dont forget the power of a spouse, partner, roommate, or other housemates to give you information that could help your decision making about addressing this issueif someone else tells you that youve been snoring or experiencing other sleep disturbances, take such reports seriously and consider having those observations committed to writing for your future claims sake.

    Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

    • Snoring
    • Insomnia or difficulty remaining asleep
    • Excessive daytime sleepiness, AKA hypersomnia
    • Difficulty paying attention due to sleep deprivation
    • Irritability due to insomnia or lost sleep

    What Happens In Osa

    People with OSA may experience repeated episodes of apnoea and hypopnoea throughout the night.

    During an episode, the lack of oxygen;triggers your brain to pull you out of deep sleep; either to a lighter sleep or to wakefulness;;so your airway reopens and you can breathe normally.

    After falling back into deep sleep, further episodes of apnoea and hypopnoea can occur. These events may occur around once every one or two;minutes throughout the night in severe cases.

    Most people with OSA snore loudly. Their breathing may be noisy and laboured, and it is often interrupted by;gasping and snorting;with each episode of apnoea.

    These repeated sleep interruptions can make you;feel very tired during the day. Youll usually have no memory of your interrupted breathing, so you;may be unaware you have a problem unless a;partner, friend or family member notices the symptoms;while you sleep.

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    Mild Sleep Apnea Its Still Sleep Apnea

    So, as weve seen above, mild sleep apnea involves fewer interruptions than severe sleep apnea. All the same, it can still cause as many as 15 sleep interruptions every hour. Thats a lot of times to have your sleep disrupted every night, and it stands to reason that anyone with mild sleep apnea would want to work to prevent it.

    But does that mean using CPAP or other sleep apnea treatment equipment? Read our post on some of the more common mild sleep apnea treatment options.

    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.

    Do You Need Help With Your Va Claim For Sleep Apnea

    Sleep Apnea and Social Security Disability

    At;VA Claims Insider, we can help you win, service connect, and get the highest rating possible for your Sleep Apnea disability claim.

    Its FREE to get started, and youll hear from one of our Veteran Coaches ;within minutes;of signing up for;VA Claims Insider ELITE.

    >> CLICK HERE NOW <<;to complete our 3-step intake process, speak with a Veteran Coach to get a personalized VA claim strategy, and possibly get the VA rating you deserve in less time.

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    The Connection Between Sleep Apnea And Other Medical Conditions

    While a veteran with sleep apnea may qualify for disability benefits solely on the basis of their service-connected disability, in some cases, sleep apnea is a result of another condition. In these situations, a veteran may be able to claim sleep apnea on a secondary basis if the underlying health issue is service-connected.

    There is a range of health problems that are connected to sleep apnea. For example, a 2015 study found that Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder had a high risk of developing sleep apnea. The severity of PTSD symptoms increased the risk of screening positive for sleep apnea symptoms.

    There are a number of medical conditions that are associated with sleep apnea, including:

    • Hypothyroidism
    • Acromegaly
    • Muscle diseases

    In addition, sleep apnea may be caused by:

    • Excess weight or obesity;
    • Alcohol consumption;
    • Some medications, including narcotic pain medications, sleep medicines, and sedative;

    For example, assume that you were diagnosed with asthma as a result of your service, and were awarded a VA rating for benefits as a result. If you then developed sleep apnea, you could seek an updated VA rating based on your combined disabilities. To do so, you will need to submit evidence of your sleep apnea diagnosis as well as a nexus between your asthma and sleep apnea.

    What If I Was Previously Denied Sleep Apnea Va Disability Benefits

    If you were denied sleep apnea VA disability benefits within the last one year, you should consider;talking to a VA disability appeal lawyer. Many disabled veterans are denied sleep apnea VA disability benefits on their initial application and must file an appeal.

    If you have waited longer than one year to appeal your denial, you can reapply. Whatever course you choose, do not give up. Too many veterans that are denied VA disability benefits for sleep apnea never appeal and therefore never receive benefits. Remember, these benefits are yours! You served our country and you deserve them.

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    What If Youre Denied For Benefits

    If your obstructive sleep apnea VA claim, or other sleep apnea claim, was originally denied, you may be able to appeal the rating and receive VA disability compensation. The law professionals at Hill & Ponton are available to help. Our disability;attorneys focus on veterans disability and social security disability law, helping your family obtain the benefits youre entitled to. You can call our law firm at 1-888-373-9436 to discuss your VA disability claim.

    How Sleep Apnea Could Link To Military Service

    Changing definitions of sleep apnea

    There are a number of ways military service can lead to developing Sleep Apnea. It can also happen from routine injuries during the course of performing ones military duties. This can include: broken legs, ankles, back injuries, and the list goes on. The military is a very physically demanding work environment, and sometimes injuries happen.

    Sleep Apnea in the workplace injuries can lead to a loss of mobility and activity, which can lead to a person developing risk factors for Sleep Apnea, such as weight gain due to decreased mobility. Its a VA requirement that a veteran demonstrates the disability claim for Sleep Apnea be the result of military service, so its important for the link to be demonstrated as part of the VA disability claim.

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