Studies are linking PTSD and sleep apnea. Veterans with PTSD and sleep apnea may be eligible for VA Benefits.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition initiated by coming into contact with or seeing a distressing event. PTSD is extremely relevant to veterans because of the experiences they have faced in war. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, approximately 31% of Vietnam veterans, 10% of Gulf War (Desert Storm) veterans, 11% of war in Afghanistan veterans, and 20% of Iraqi war veterans are affected by PTSD. This condition has significantly afflicted veterans throughout history and is a condition in which you can receive benefits.
Is Sleep Apnea Related to PTSD?
New research was conducted on 195 Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans with PTSD. The study found that about 69% of veterans with PTSD are at a high risk for sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder causing a person to repeatedly stop and start breathing. This correlation between the two becomes even stronger when the study determined that an increase in the severity of PTSD leads to an increase in the probability of sleep apnea.
What Kind of VA Rating Can I get for Sleep Apnea?
There are three main tiers of ratings from the VA for sleep apnea. Documented sleep disorder breathing with no other symptoms is rated as zero. If you are diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and also have periods during the day when you are super sleepy after a full night’s sleep, (hypersomnolence) then you are at the 30% rating. If you need a CPAP machine to sleep, you should be rated at 50% for sleep apnea disability. If you have Chronic respiratory failure with carbon dioxide retention, Cor pulmonale (hardening of lung arteries) or a tracheostomy you are at 100%.
Sleep Apnea VA Ratings:
- 0% – Diagnosed with sleep apnea but no other symptoms
- 30% – Super sleepy during the day after a normal 7 hours of sleep
- 50% – If you require a CPAP machine when you sleep
- 100% – If you have more serious heart/respiratory problems
The rating for sleep apnea can change over time, so if you think you’ve progressed far enough to jump from 30%-50%, let’s review your claim. If your doctor says you need a CPAP, you just leveled up to 50%. Get that paperwork in!
Is Sleep Apnea dangerous?
Sleep apnea is not only dangerous due to the repeated stopping and starting of breathing during sleep, but it can also lead to hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. Sleep apnea may also cause other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and worsening PTSD.
Warning signs of sleep apnea include “snoring and choking, gasping, or silent breathing pauses during sleep.” The Veterans Administration also offers benefits for those veterans who do suffer from sleep apnea. The link between PTSD and sleep apnea is a phenomenal discovery and encourages veterans that are service-connected for PTSD to be screened for sleep apnea.
Woods & Woods VA Disability Lawyers can help with your PTSD and Sleep Apnea application for no charge.
The Veterans’ Disability Benefits Lawyers at Woods and Woods recognize the difficulties that accompany applying for veterans’ disability benefits based on conditions caused by PTSD. That’s why we’re here to answer any questions you may have if you are considering applying for benefits or have had a claim for benefits denied in the past. Was your PTSD claim denied? We can help with that too! Call us toll-free at (866) 232-5777.