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How Do I Prove Sleep Apnea Was Service Connected?


iraqx2

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I am planning on writing a Notice of Disagreement on my sleep apnea decision. The VA in their decision letter, did acknowledged that I do have sleep apnea and currently on a CPAP machine issued by the VA's sleep center. So all of the conditions and treatment are concrete. However, and as usual, " No evidence to support that sleep apnea was service connected ".

I am burned out with paperwork but is currently satisfy with my rating.

Any suggestions on how I can respond and prove that it was service connected?

Thanks

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I was a jet eng. mech. in the service and always worked on the flight line on B52. My question is could I receive COPD comp. due to all the Jet fumes I inhaled for four years.I do have COPD now and I also smoked for 24 years. I will turn seventy this week,

I 'am currently at 50% disability 10% toe, 20% back,10% tinnitus 10% diabetes secondary to AO from Guam. I have been receiving most of this since 2013

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On ‎6‎/‎4‎/‎2013 at 10:47 PM, Slick said:

I have an "appeal" pending challenging VA's denial of service connected sleep apnea. I did engage a Doc for an IMO and result was Nexus letter cited studies tieing sleep apnea as secondary to PTSD. Like I said claim pending so......................

 

Hope this helps

Did you end up tying the sleep apnea as secondary to PTSD? I have a sleep apnea claim in but i am sure it will be denied. I had a study, issued a cpap, have statements from my mom, exwife, roommate etc but they will probably say its not service connected etc. So I was hearing that you could possible connect to PTSD if you already have that rated etc. Just seeing what your outcome was?

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If you file a FDC, and then submit new evidence, the VA will just remove your claim from the FDC track and put it in the standard claims track. I'm sure there is a time limit for when you can submit the new evidence and have it included in the claim, so I wouldn't wait too long if that is the route you plan on taking.

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On 12/14/2018 at 1:56 PM, JCOTE48 said:

I was a jet eng. mech. in the service and always worked on the flight line on B52. My question is could I receive COPD comp. due to all the Jet fumes I inhaled for four years.I do have COPD now and I also smoked for 24 years. I will turn seventy this week,

JCOTE48,

You need to start a new post and give a little more information and someone should be able to help you.

Like are you receiving compensation currently and for what and for how long.  A lot of things co-mingle and we need the big picture.

And then your question,

FWIW,

Hamslice

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I am planning on writing a Notice of Disagreement on my sleep apnea decision. The VA in their decision letter, did acknowledged that I do have sleep apnea and currently on a CPAP machine issued by the VA's sleep center. So all of the conditions and treatment are concrete. However, and as usual, " No evidence to support that sleep apnea was service connected ".

I am burned out with paperwork but is currently satisfy with my rating.

Any suggestions on how I can respond and prove that it was service connected?

What are your service connected disabilities?

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100% TBI, PTSD, and back injury. All service connected. And to add a point, my sleep apnea did start while I was in the Army. Back then, who the heck takes snoring seriously.

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If you can prove that you had the symptoms while on active duty and get a nexus from a sleep specialist then it would be possible to get it service connected.

Sleep apnea signs and symptoms

It can be tough to identify sleep apnea on your own, since the most prominent symptoms only occur when you're asleep. But you can get around this difficulty by asking a bed partner to observe your sleep habits or recording yourself during sleep.

Major signs and symptoms of sleep apnea

  • Loud and chronic snoring
  • Choking, snorting, or gasping during sleep
  • Long pauses in breathing
  • Daytime sleepiness, no matter how much time you spend in bed
    Other common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include:
  • Waking up with a dry mouth or sore throat
  • Morning headaches
  • Restless or fitful sleep
  • Insomnia or nighttime awakenings
  • Going to the bathroom frequently during the night
  • Waking up feeling out of breath
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Moodiness, irritability, or depression

http://www.helpguide...sleep_apnea.htm

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I wrote a buddy letter for a fellow service member, and I believe he had 2 others write buddy letters for his Sleep Apnea. He got SC'd 50%. He definitly had it if he anything, and I felt obligated to help him out. They finally put him on night shift in the TOC so he could sleep in the day. By himself...

Hamslice

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Hey Hamslice,

I am still connected to my buddies that I served with, could they possibly write me a letter stating their observances of my sleep while I was in? Since you have done this already, can you provide an example letter? and how many people wrote letters for him ? Thanks.

- CAM

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Hey Hamslice,

I am still connected to my buddies that I served with, could they possibly write me a letter stating their observances of my sleep while I was in? Since you have done this already, can you provide an example letter? and how many people wrote letters for him ? Thanks.

- CAM

I just submitted to reopen my claim for OSA with evidence from the sleep clinic of how severe my readings are and 3 letters from guys I severed with and actual went to the field with with them. I contacted my old girlfriend and she emailed me a letter to state the facts as well, with a letter from my current wife. I read a few claims from the appeal process and the judge made a statement" With the letters of support stating the snoring and gasping for air, they are not MEDICAL EXPERTS". On the other hand, one appeal, the soldier had his wife write a statement and she said he had sleep apnea before he enlisted but it's now worse than ever. GRANTED 50%

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Cam

It isnt a good idea to follow any "format" for a buddy letter for OSA. Reason: The buddy letter should not appear "coached". In their own Words, you buddy's should write a letter stating (if this is true) that Joe Veteran was your bunk mate, and that his snoring kept me awake, etc.

"Buddy letters" are for LAY evidence only. Your buddy's can't diagnose OSA, and their opinion that you should get 50% for CPAP wont likely help. But they can testify that you snored loudly.

They COULD also offer lay testimony such as you fell asleep during classes, movies, etc. Both loud snoring, and falling asleep at inappropriate times are possible symptoms of OSA. You could see if your buddies noticed you had any of the sympomts Pete posted. Neither you, nor your buddies, should ever lie to the VA. They have ways of figuring this out and the consequences are never good.

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I will add:

I have OSA. (Its not Service connected). My doc told me it was "excess tissue" in my throat. He indicated more than once that it could well improve if I lost weight. Specifically, People who have Osa ARE OFTEN OVERWEIGHT.

If you ARE overweight AND have OSA, you might just take a look at your meds. You can google "side effects" of your specific meds. If the drug makers website says, to the effect, that the drug, xxxxxxx, has a side effect of weight gain, AND if your doc prescribed that med for a SC condition, well you could ask him to relate your med, to obesity, to OSA. It could work, but your doc would have to provide a nexus, and a medical rationale.

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Iraq2:

It sounds like you are trying to prove OSA is SC for purposes of getting SMC because your post indicates you are already at 100%. In other words, if you got 50% for OSA, then you would qualify for 100 plus 60 housebound. (SMC S).

While this may work, if you ARE housebound, you may be able to get it by showing you are HB. There are 2 methods to SMC S (housebound):

1. Housebound "in fact". This means your doc states, to the effect, that you are housebound.

2. 100 plus 60 criteria, described elsewhere in detail.

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I was just awarded for Sleep Apnea.

I had my pulmonary doc (and certified sleep specialist) review my service medical records. In his letter he indicated sleep apnea more likely than not started when I was deployed to Korea in 1986. He further went on to indicate the medical indicaters of sleep apnea in the medical records were onset of unexplained hypertension, neck size of 17 inches, weight gain and reported snoring by spouse when he returned from assignment in Korea. He then added another paragraph indicating untreated chronic pain due to back injury could make my sleep apnea worse and treatment with opiods would depress my breathing and worsen my sleep apnea symptoms. This is a paraphrase not word for word.

Look at your SMR's if you have any medical conditions that are caused or worsened by sleep apnea (google it, lots of information on the web). Spend the money for an IMO and get medical evidence in the record. Buddy statements are helpfull but the farther away from ETS you get the less impact they have.

Best regards,

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I was just awarded for Sleep Apnea.

I had my pulmonary doc (and certified sleep specialist) review my service medical records. In his letter he indicated sleep apnea more likely than not started when I was deployed to Korea in 1986. He further went on to indicate the medical indicaters of sleep apnea in the medical records were onset of unexplained hypertension, neck size of 17 inches, weight gain and reported snoring by spouse when he returned from assignment in Korea. He then added another paragraph indicating untreated chronic pain due to back injury could make my sleep apnea worse and treatment with opiods would depress my breathing and worsen my sleep apnea symptoms. This is a paraphrase not word for word.

Look at your SMR's if you have any medical conditions that are caused or worsened by sleep apnea (google it, lots of information on the web). Spend the money for an IMO and get medical evidence in the record. Buddy statements are helpfull but the farther away from ETS you get the less impact they have.

Best regards,

Thanks for the incredibly helpful post!

Just a few questions as I recently separated from the Navy and plan on submitting a Fully developed claim for apnea:

1) IMO= Independent Medical Opinion? If I had my internal medicine doc review my service records and fill out a Disability benefits Questionnaire (DBQ) for apnea, is that sufficient or should I have a certified sleep specialist do so? Do I need him to write out specifically that "sleep apnea more likely than not started" while i was in service?

Background: Diagnosed with Sleep Apnea while Active-duty serving overseas at USFK. The sleep study dr. on base had me referred me for an actual sleep study at Samsung Medical Center which diagnosed me with "mild to moderate OSAS" requiring CPAP, in addition to a deviated septum. I received my CPAP a few weeks later but also underwent U-3P Surgery and corrected my deviated septum.

2) Before I submit my claim, should I have another sleep study done privately to show that I still struggle with it? Or is this a waste of my time/money? I've looked into getting a sleep study done at home as well, to save on $ as I don't currently have medical insurance. However, if it will help me get my claim approved, I'm willing to use some of my savings for a private in-clinic or in-home sleep study.
3) After I submit my documentation, will the VA have me do another sleep study? (If so, I may not need to pay for one)
4) Do I need to bring in my CPAP/CPAP card during the VA appointment? I currently still have and use my CPAP (life-saver), but I no longer have my CPAP card as the on-base sleep doctor was reviewing it, and never got it back to me before I PCS'ed back to CONUS.
5) Will the VA care that my base doc referred me to get my sleep study done at a private hospital? (they apparently didn't do them on yongsan)
Please let me know any insights or advice you have! I'm definitely lucky I found this exceptional community.
-FNG
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If you were diagnosed and issued a CPAP while on active duty. File the claim indicate the duty station, date of diagnosis, date of CPAP issue and medical professional involved in the medical decisions. As long as it is in your service medical records you should be service connected. The biggest issue will probably be the wait for a decision.

If you are currently using a CPAP an additional medical appointment should not be necessary. Are you enrolled in VA medical Care? Last I knew three years of medical care is provided regardless of rating/income. If you are in the VA system they should have sleep apnea in your record as a current condition and be providing a Cpap machine,

If VA thinks it is necessary to do a study they will schedule one.

When I took a CPAP card to my SLeep Apnea C&P the doctor didn't want to review the data, but that was probably because she was an alergest and wasn't qualified to actually review my condition.

If you have in-service diagnosis and was issued a cpap you should be fine, unless your SMR's indicate the Deviated Septum surgery resolved your sleep apnea.

Best regards,

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For some reason the VA seems to be willing to look at buddy statements to symptoms and allow it. Like mentioned before a Sleep Specialist could also help

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Pete is correct, both of those (buddy statements and IMO) will help, I did not bring them up because I feel the in service diagnosis and issue of a machine in service pretty much should provide SC and a 50% rating, unless of course the surgery resolved the OSA and/or a doctor took the individual off of the CPAP machine.

Best regards,

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correct, if you were diagnosed with sleep apnea (by a sleep study, this is the only way it can be diagnosed) while on active duty, you will be fine without the buddy statements. Submit a VA FM 21-526ez (fully developed claim) attach a copy of your sleep study results and send it to the VARO in your state.

I'm surprised your not in the VA health care system. Although those getting out now only receive 180 days of medical care under the Tricare system, if you were enrolled in the VA, they will provide all equipment and supplies for your cpap at no charge to you.

Good luck!

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