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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons … Continue reading

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Organized_Chaos

Service connected asthma(30%) submitting claim for severe sleep apnea

Question

What's up Fellow Vets,

I am new to this site and I wanted to explain my case and get advise.

I was medically discharged from the Army in 2004 due to a diagnosis of asthma (30% disability).  I never had any kind of respiratory problems until I arrived in Germany in 2003.  I started experiencing difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, excessive snoring, dry mouth, fatigue, ect.  After several trips to the doctor and several tests, the Army doctors diagnosed me with having asthma.  I never had asthma so all the symptoms i was experiencing were new to me.  

Fast forward to 2017, I was having trouble with the hormones in my body.  I was experiencing ecessive daytime sleepiness, fatigue, memory problems and loud snoring (ask my wife).   After several tests and appointments, it was requested by my doctor that I have a sleep study performed.  I didnt know why I would need this test but reluctantly, I agreed and took the test.  After the test, I was diagnosed with severe obstructive sleep apnea  with an AHI 77.5.  Moderate is 5 and severe is 10+.  So it turns out that the symptoms i was experiencing while in the army were of both asthma and severe OSA.  The doctors in the Army never even mentioned or tested me for sleep apnea.  I had a DBQ done at the VA Hospital in which i am being treated.  In the DBQ, the Dr states:

a. Describe the history (including onset and course) of the Veteran's sleep disorder condition (brief summary):
Veteran reports excessive daytime fatigue and sleepiness, unrefreshing
sleep ,snoring and frequent awakening. He had a sleep study at Northport VAMC on 8/11/2017
whihc showed severe obstructive sleep apnea with AHI 77.5 events per hour. He had a CPAP titration study on 8/23/2017 which showed
improvement to AHI of 12.9 events per hour.  He just got his CPAP machine yesterday. As of now, he gets about 4
hours of sleep per night. He does not restorative sleep. He does find himself falling asleep during the day.

Does the Veteran's sleep apnea impact his or her ability to work?
[X] Yes [ ] No
If yes, describe impact of the Veteran's sleep apnea, providing one
or
more examples:
he is tired throughout the day. His poor sleep has led to foggy
thinking and poor short term memory.

 

I just went on ebenefits and submitted a claim for sleep apnea and Unemployability.  Do you think i have a valid claim?  

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Absolutely, a definite Secondary 50% SC. 

Did any of your Dr's opine as to etiology in any of their Clinician Notes? What's the rest of the SA DBQ have to say regarding Service Connection?

What were your over-nite P02 (Pulse Ox) readings? Any mention of the need for supplemental 02 while on Cpap?

Semper Fi

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Sounds like your CPAP machine is really helping. I agree with Gastone, it looks really promising if the etiology statement is right.

In addition to your SA claim, consider exploring the possibility for an increased asthma rating.

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I just want to say that we need more sites like this one.  The whole VA filing system is pretty intimidating.  By reading posts submitted by fellow Vets, it helped ease the stress.  Thank you for the response.

My concern is with the SC.  In my army medical file, there are records of me complaining of fatigue and orthopnea but there is no mention of sleep apnea.  Since I was diagnosed with asthma, I just thought my OSA symptoms were asthma symptoms.  I never knew about sleep apnea until I was diagnosed with it.  Plus on my DBQ there is no mention of my history and/or linking it to my army service.  I submitted the following evidence:

BDQ (but history not mentioned)

copies of army medical records stating fatigue and orthopnea

VA medical records (all medical treatments are with the VA hospital in NY)

Sworn statement stating no respiratory or sleep disorders prior to military (parents)

Unemployability form from my current job

 

I there any other evidence I should be submitting?

 

I also submitted a claim for my Hiatal hernia / GERD.  There is evidence in my service medical file diagnosing me with GERD and I had an endoscopy done last year and it showed that I have a Hiatal hernia.  I submitted all evidence for this claim.

Edited by Organized_Chaos

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O_C, all of the above is way too positive, I apologize.

Until you get the actual Award for Secondary SC SA SC'd, prepare for a Denial, Secondary SA claims are a tough sell.

How about posting a redacted complete copy of your C & P SA DBQ?

Semper Fi

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I'm waiting to see if they want me to have a C&P exam.  Hopefully then i can further explain my case for the OSA and asthma link.  I also submitted 2 medical studies that support the link between asthma, GERD and sleep apnea.  hopefully they take them into consideration.  The following is the full BDQ for the sleep apnea:

LOCAL TITLE: C&P GENERAL MEDICINE
STANDARD TITLE: INTERNAL MEDICINE C & P EXAMINATION CONSULT
DATE OF NOTE: SEP 08, 2017 ENTRY DATE: SEP 08, 2017
AUTHOR: *******,******* EXP COSIGNER:
URGENCY: STATUS: COMPLETED
Sleep Apnea
Disability Benefits Questionnaire
REFERRAL CLINIC
---------------
Name of patient/Veteran: ******
Is this DBQ being completed in conjunction with a VA 21-2507, C&P
Examination
Request?
[ ] Yes [X] No
If no, how was the examination completed (check all that apply)?
[X] In-person examination
[X] Records reviewed
Evidence Review
---------------
Evidence reviewed (check all that apply):
[X] VA e-folder (VBMS or Virtual VA)
[X] CPRS
1. Diagnosis
------------
Does the Veteran have or has he/she ever had sleep apnea?
[X] Yes [ ] No
[X] Obstructive
ICD code: g47.33 Date of diagnosis: 2017
2. Medical history
------------------
a. Describe the history (including onset and course) of the Veteran's
sleep
disorder condition (brief summary):
Veteran reports excessive daytime fatigue and sleepiness, unrefreshing
sleep ,snoring and frequent awakening. He had a sleep study at Northport VAMC on
8/11/2017 whihc showed severe obstructive sleep apnea with AHI 77.5 events per
hour. He had a CPAP titration study on 8/23/2017 which showed
improvement to AHI of 12.9 events per hour.  He just got his CPAP machine yesterday. As of now, he gets about 4
hours of sleep per night. He does not restorative sleep. He does find himself falling asleep during the day.


b. Is continuous medication required for control of a sleep disorder
condition?
[ ] Yes [X] No
c. Does the Veteran require the use of a breathing assistance device?
[ ] Yes [X] No
d. Does the Veteran require the use of a continuous positive airway pressure
(CPAP) machine?
[X] Yes [ ] No
3. Findings, signs and symptoms
-------------------------------
Does the Veteran currently have any findings, signs or symptoms attributable
to sleep apnea?
[X] Yes [ ] No
If yes, check all that apply:
[X] Persistent daytime hypersomnolence
4. Other pertinent physical findings, complications, conditions, signs,
symptoms and scars

a. Does the Veteran have any other pertinent physical findings,
complications, conditions, signs or symptoms related to any conditions
listed in the Diagnosis Section above?
[ ] Yes [X] No
b. Does the Veteran have any scars (surgical or otherwise) related to any
conditions or to the treatment of any conditions listed in the Diagnosis
Section above?
[ ] Yes [X] No
c. Comments, if any:
No response provided.
5. Diagnostic testing
---------------------
a. Has a sleep study been performed?
[X] Yes [ ] No
If yes, does the Veteran have documented sleep disorder breathing?
[X] Yes [ ] No
Date of sleep study: 8/11/2017
Facility where sleep study performed, if known: ******* VAMC
Results:
severe obstructive sleep apnea with AHI of 77.5 events per day
b. Are there any other significant diagnostic test findings and/or results?
[ ] Yes [X] No
6. Functional impact
--------------------
Does the Veteran's sleep apnea impact his or her ability to work?
[X] Yes [ ] No
If yes, describe impact of the Veteran's sleep apnea, providing one
or
more examples:
he is tired throughout the day. His poor sleep has led to foggy
thinking and poor short term memory.
7. Remarks, if any:
-------------------
No remarks provided.

 

I haven't had a C&P yet

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