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Need Advice On Upcoming Obstructive Sleep Apnea Claim

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Needed your advice.

I have been denied w/ my OSA(Sleep Apnea) Reopen claim as secondary to Agent Orange exposure less than two years ago. Lesson learned w/ inadequate prepping, and before I ran into hadit.

I have been diagnosed w/ Sleep Apnea(private Sleep study/Doctor) in Y2002, which is over 30 years after military discharge. It was also stated(within VA denial letter) that Sleep Apnea syndrome is not one of the conditions associated with Agent Orange exposure.

For the past 18 months, I have received additional rating which included Tinnitus and Hypertension. Thanks to hadit!!!!!!!

Now, I am readying up to Reopen Claim w/ OSA this time => as secondary to service connected DM-II, Diabetic Neprhopathy, Tinnitus, HTN, and ED(SMC).

VA has my sleep medical records for couple of years now. They are aware that I have been using my old CPAP machine; periodically supplying me w/ masks & filters as requested, etc. Matter of fact, VA was super in ordering me a new CPAP machine as of this week.

I would appreciate further hints or tips from anyone to make sure I do this right this time.

God bless, and thanks in advance!

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  • Elder

What in-service symptoms did you have to connect you sleep apnea to the diagnosis 30 years later? Sleep Apnea is not associated with any of the conditions that you stated.

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I beg to differ with poolguy's opinion. OSA has been cited as a cause of hypertension:

Sleep apnea can also occur as a secondary outcome of taking medications for service-connected conditions, which would then service connect sleep apnea.

So a veteran who has been service connected for disabilities can very well develop sleep apnea as a secondary outcome of any of those disabilities, even if it occurs 30 years after discharge from active duty.

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  • Elder

vaf- this may be a viable claim, however, the connection between OSA & the S/C hypertension from 30 years ago must be shown. Same with the meds/conditions causing such at any time. The VBA will-not connect these dots for the claiment. A strong IMO is the first thing that comes to my mind to be a big help in this case. I merely was pointing out the issues that the VBA will hit on.

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I was merely stating that sleep apnea is associated with many conditions that would, over time, cause sleep apnea, so there may very well be an association, even 30 years later. An IMO always helps establish nexus, of course. However, it appears to be common medical practice to accept the relationships between hypertension and sleep apnea, and sleep apnea caused by certain medications, as valid.

Unless I'm misunderstanding something, you stated, "Sleep Apnea is not associated with any of the conditions that you stated." Actually, it is associated with hypertension, which was one of the conditions stated. Not discussed, but still important, was the fact that medications cause sleep apnea. Also medications often cause significant weight gain, which is also known to cause sleep apnea.

I do agree with you however that whenever possible, an independent IMO to establish nexus is invaluable.

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  • Elder

hey vaf- we see things the same and your correct- but making the case to the VBA is the issue I was attempting point out. Any of the symptoms that could be service connected for S/A will in fact most likely to fall upon deaf ears at the R/O.

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