Did you know over 22 million people suffer from sleep apnea? If you are a Veteran living with sleep apnea, you may be eligible for a higher VA disability rating.
Some of you may be wondering, what is sleep apnea and how do I know if I have it?
What is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder where your breathing is repeatedly interrupted or stops throughout the night. This can occur several times per night. But what causes it depends on how severe the condition affects you — whether it’s obstructive, central, or a mix of both.
Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common type of sleep apnea out of the two. It occurs when the upper airway is blocked repeatedly throughout the night. This happens when you relax your back throat muscles, causing it to impair your airflow.
On the other hand, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain either doesn’t send signals to the muscles controlling your breathing or those signals are interrupted. When you have both obstructive and central sleep apnea, the VA categorizes it as “mixed sleep apnea.”
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
Wondering if you have sleep apnea? Here are some of the most common symptoms of sleep apnea:
- episodes where you stop breathing during your sleep
- gasping for air while sleeping
- loud snoring
- waking up with a dry mouth
- morning headaches
- difficulty sleeping, otherwise known as insomnia
- excessive daytime sleepiness, otherwise known as hypersomnia
- having trouble paying attention while awake
We strongly recommend any Veterans experiencing any of these symptoms seek medical attention and file a VA claim for sleep apnea disability benefits.
If sleep apnea is left untreated, it can cause conditions such as:
- high blood pressure
- heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
- worsened ADHD
How the VA Rates Sleep Apnea Disability Claims
The VA determines your rating based on the severity of your obstructive sleep apnea — It can range from 0 to 100%. Your eligibility is determined by the medical evidence given in order to prove you currently suffer from sleep apnea and that your condition is service-related.
You can also get disability benefits for sleep apnea on a secondary basis, meaning that you are already service-connected for another disability, and that caused you to have sleep apnea.
Suppose your obstructive sleep apnea VA disability claim was initially denied. In that case, you may be able to appeal your rating and receive the VA disability benefits you deserve. Don’t go through it alone — contact us today!