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Sleep Apnea secondary to PTSD


Just wondering if anyone has granted Sleep Apnea Seconday to PTSD? If so any tips?  This is what I have so far.

  1. 50% PTSD/MST
  2. Had a home sleep study done and was diagnosed with moderate Sleep Apnea with recommendation for cpap.
  3. Am in the process of scheduling an on campus Sleep study thru the VA per my PCP's recommendation
  4. Have been on meds that cause weight gain xanax for anxiety and atenenol for hypertension
  5. Have a letter from my wife stating she notice my snoring and breathing issues when we first moved into gather, this is before I gained weight.
  6. Have a letter from a college roommate who live in the same dorm room  with me a year after getting out of the service stating I snored badly then. Was in the reserves then so had to keep weight down. 
  7. Have reoccurring nightmares that interrupt my sleep patterns, Is documented.
  8. Have eight documented studies showing that PTSD and sleep apnea are related. 
  9. Both my PCP and my Therapist both are willing to right nexus letter on my behalf.

What else should I get to help my claim?

Should I go for hypertension secondary to PTSD first?

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You are definitely on the Winning track with your list you just cited.  There are hundreds of BVA decisions granting vets secondary service connection of OSA Sleep Apnea caused by and or aggravated by PTSD and or PTSD VA medications.  In addition to interfering with sleep such as Zoloft some will cause weight gain in vets that in turn this weight gain contributes to OSA

Make sure you do get an official diagnosis of OSA Sleep Apnea with required use of CPAP machine from a VA Sleep Lab/doctor or a private doctor's sleep clinic.

There are also many reputable credible medical research studies revealing a very strong association between PTSD and OSA.  To name a few are the Walter Reed Army Hospital and Brook Army Hospital studies along with the Madigan Army Hospital studies.  There are many more from medical journals, associations and medical research institutes such as Mayo, Harvard, Cleveland, etc. 

Those buddy statements about your OSA symptoms are considered good evidence by the BVA but not so much the VA regional office raters who are **************.

My info is not legal advice as I am not an attorney, paralegal or VSO.  Good luck

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Hi pyrotaz. Good advise from Dustoff. It makes no difference if you go for HTN first or not; it isn't going to improve or decrease your chances for either one. Now of course if money doesn't mean much to you wait until you're approved for the SA, because it could take a while. If approved and you are required to use a CPAP, it pays 50% rating. The VA doesn't like handing out 50% disabilities, so there is a tendency to delay and deny {at least at first.) If you would rather have money in your pocket rather than leave it with the VA for a while, put your claim in for both at the same time. As for your SA claim, read your diagnosis from the doc for your sleep study and for the follow up diagnosis. If it isn't strong, I would suggest you get an IMO for an expert/qualified doc. SA is a secondary condition; the VA will try real hard to disapprove that 50% claim. A IMO would make your case much stronger, and, IMO be worth the investment if you can swing it.

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Get 2 more things "that matter", so you dont get denied:  (You need both of these) 

1.  Get a doctors opinion that YOUR sleep apnea is at least as likely as not secondary to your PTSD or

    IF you have an "in service event" which can be shown to cause sleep apnea, then you need the in service event documented AND your doctor has to opine that your sleep apnea is at least as likely as not due to the in service event.   Example:  You were punched in the face and your nose was broken in service.  This could be an in service event, provided that its documented.  You do NOT need to be diagnosed with sleep apnea "in service".  

2.  Have your (sleep doctor) opine that a CPAP is "medically necessary" for you.  

       Finally, you should know this.  If you "get" a cpap machine, there is a chip in those which records, if/how much you use the device.  So, if you do not use the device regurarly, VA may well reduce or eliminate your 50 percent rating for sleep apnea.  If you get a cpap from VA then dont use it for 2 years, dont expect VA to pay you for using a cpap.  So, if a doctor prescribes a cpap, then use it and comply.  If the mask does not fit well, go back to VA doc and tell him so, they can try another mask.  There are dozens of different styles of cpap masks.  You will need to find one that works for you.  

Edited by broncovet

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I am not service connected for Sleep Apnea but have a sleep apnea diagnose from the VA And was prescribe a C-pap necessary to use for my health...I got my C-pap  machine back i n 2015   and could possibly file a claim  to get it service connected and  a 50% rating for it...but so for I have not filed  don't know if I should or not  to damn much stress for me to be worrying about it.

but the point I wanted to make  is my VA Issued  C-pap has this ''chip'' or vin#  in it to be read in another computer,and dates used and apenas that happen and how bad long they happen during the night. ----as brocovet mention

but I was never called in for them to recheck this chip....now maybe its because I am not service connected? or have a claim in for Sleep Apnea?

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I am called in once a year to the VA CPAP clinic so they can check me out.  They told me I did not have to bring the machine.  I have not used it for a while because none of the face mask work and allow air to blow into my eyes.  If I tighten  the mask to stop this then I get headaches and therefore having a CPAP does not help me sleep at all but just the opposite.  I use a chin strap from Amazon to stop my snoring and sleep a little better with it.

I have heard from so called knowledgeable persons that not using your CPAP will not effect your OSA rating or payments from VA but have never seen this in any official regulations, memos, etc.  There is always a lot of uncertainty with anything to do with the VA system.

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