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Sleep Apnea & GERD - In need of a TIME MACHINE!

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Ye Odle Sarge


How does one get the needed documentation to prove Sleep Apnea and GERD is service connected?  I served from March 1969 to March 1972 but it was not until the mid to late 1990's that the medical world began identifying individuals who suffered with SA & GERD.  While on active duty I worked a 4/2 rotating shift and always considered my trouble sleeping was because I could never establish a good sleep habit and my constant indigestion and heartburn to not eating well and enjoying good German beer.  Finally about 1996 my family Dr got me tested for Sleep Apnea determining I had Obstructive Sleep Apnea requiring me to use a CPAP nightly, she also got on me when I finally mentioned I was constantly having to take tums and drinking Alka-Seltzer multiple times a day.  I left MO toward the end of 2001 and since I have had multiple Dr's who continue prescribing meds for my GERD and telling me to wear my CPAP.  My VA Dr several years ago had me retested for my sleep apnea and the VA has determined I have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) as well as prescribing the needed meds for my GERD. 

While in basic, March 1969 - June 1969, about the end of May or first of June I was hospitalized for an upper respiratory infection and ever since I have suffered with sinus problems including sinus infections two to three times a year and on a sinus pill daily.

I currently have a total of 40% disability for tinnitus, migraines, and mental health. I have always filed claims one problem at a time the last being for OSA which of course they denied the claim.  I am plaining to appeal through the Appeals Board requesting a hearing with a Veterans Law Judge.  I am also contacting my former Dr in MO hoping that she will provide a Nexus letter and DBQ for my OSA and GERD.  I also need to find out how if at all possible to get my hospital records for my URI from the hospital at Ft Jackson.

I guess my questions are: (1) is it best to take each issue separately or combine them, (2) for the HLR do I go it alone or get DAV or an attorney to represent me?

Ye Ole Sarge

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I know certain medications will cause good. Any trips to the year ER for vomiting or stomach problems? That should be documented somewhere. Stomach ulcer is a sign of Gerd also. 

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@Ye Odle Sarge Welcome to Hadit! Roger that about the German beer.

Sleep apnea was not on my radar when I left the Army in 1995 with my German wife (no longer married now though). Even though I worked a normal shift, she complained about me snoring even though I was slim. She did tell me that I would stop breathing and gasp for breath which woke me up at night. I did get SA diagnosed eventually, but am not SC for it. I can't help much about sleep apnea, but you might be able to get your roommates or significant other to write a buddy letter to attest to firsthand knowledge of you suffering apnea episodes (if you can get hold of any of them). There are other ways I have heard of getting SA connected like odd work schedules and even Vietnam vets who might have PTSD.

However, I am SC for GERD at 10%. The Army used to feed me a lifetime supply of motrin every time I had to go in for treatment of some sort of injury. They kept refilling it and it actually helped get me through everything. Even after I got out, the VA even kept giving it to me. Turns out NSAID medications can do a real number on your digestive tract. I did get connected for several musculoskeletal conditions and was able to get GERD connected as secondary to those.

Hope this helps!

"If it's stupid but works, then it isn't stupid."
- From Murphy's Laws of Combat

Disclaimer: I am not a legal expert, so use at own risk and/or consult a qualified professional representative. Please refer to existing VA laws, regulations, and policies for the most up to date information.


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So three questions. 1. Are you within the 1 year to appeal? 2. Have you been diagnosed with OSA? 3. have you filed for sinus infections?

There is a way to connect OSA with mental health. (PTSD) You will have to get an Independent Medical Opinion that you must pay for from someone.  PM I may able to help.

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