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Sleep Apnea and PTSD: What You Need to Know

Published on March 10th, 2020

A recent study has shown a connection between sleep apnea and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This is good news for many veterans seeking disability compensation for their obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition that involves excessive snoring, choking, or gasping during sleep. It’s a common condition, occurring in around 25 million American adults, so it can be hard to show whether your sleep apnea is the result of your military service. But if your sleep apnea is caused by a service related condition such as PTSD, it may be possible to get veterans disability compensation for OSA as a secondary condition.

At Jackson & MacNichol, we represent veterans who have had their benefits denied by the VA. If your application for veterans disability compensation has been rejected, we can help by challenging the VA’s errors and by gathering the evidence you need to prove that your military service caused your disabilities. Whether you suffer from sleep apnea, PTSD, diabetes, high blood pressure, or cancer, our counsel and assistance can result in you and your family obtaining the benefits you deserve. If you want to make sure you are getting the justice you deserve, call us today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation.

New Research Shows Young Veterans at Increased Risk for Sleep Apnea

The new study was initiated when Doctor Tonya Masino noticed a disproportionate number of young veterans with PTSD at her VA outpatient clinic in San Diego also had the symptoms of sleep apnea. The resulting study brought together researchers from the San Diego VA and the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, who questioned close to 200 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who suffered from PTSD. Most of the participants were men, and their average age was 33.

The results, which were published in the May 15, 2019, issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, showed that almost 70 percent of the study participants had a high risk for sleep apnea. Additionally, the veterans with the worst PTSD symptoms had the greatest risk for sleep apnea. While the study does show that there is a definite connection between the two conditions, further studies will be needed to show whether PTSD actually causes OSA.

Sleep apnea is also a risk factor for several other conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. This means that your sleep apnea can make your other health conditions worse. So it’s essential that you get treatment as soon as possible if you begin to have any of the symptoms of OSA. The problem is, VA doctors rarely screen for sleep apnea, and the condition can go undiagnosed for years all while contributing to other, more obvious health conditions.

Not only is undiagnosed sleep apnea a severe danger to your health, it can affect your veterans disability compensation for the worse. Ideally, you want to demonstrate a service connection for every disability you have in order to maximize your monthly payments. But if VA doctors aren’t screening for sleep apnea, or properly accounting for it in the disability rating process, you should consult with a lawyer and consider getting a second medical opinion.

Call a Veterans Disability Lawyer to Fight the Rejection Of Your Compensation Claim

If the VA rejects your claim for disability compensation, you may feel like giving up and never dealing with bureaucrats again. But if there’s one battle worth fighting, it’s this one. At Jackson & MacNichol, we’re here to ensure that you and your family get justice. To learn more about your options for appealing the denial of your veterans benefits, call us today at 1(800) 524-3339 for a free consultation.


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