Are you a veteran that finds yourself waking up multiple times throughout the night to go to the bathroom? You may be eligible for VA disability for nocturia and sleep apnea.
Have you ever wondered why it never feels like your bladder is empty? Do you feel tired all the time, and do you have trouble focusing during the day?
If any of this sounds familiar, you could be suffering from nocturia. Read on to learn more about nocturia and sleep apnea and how you could get VA disability compensation for both conditions.
In this article about Nocturia and Sleep Apnea veteran’s benefits:
- What Is Nocturia?
- Symptoms of Nocturia
- Causes of Nocturia
- Risk Factors for Developing Nocturia
- Connection Between Nocturia and Sleep Apnea
- What Is Sleep Apnea?
- Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
- Nocturia and Other Conditions
- Getting a Diagnosis
- VA Ratings for Nocturia
- How VA Disability Ratings Work
- Qualifying for VA Disability
- VA Compensation Rates
- Get Compensation Today
What Is Nocturia?
Nocturia is a condition in which you find yourself having to get up to urinate more frequently throughout the night. You may be urinating in small amounts at a time multiple times throughout the night. In many cases, people with nocturia also experience more frequent daytime urination.
It’s normal for most people to wake up once during the night to go to the bathroom. But if you find yourself waking up two or three times or more throughout the night with the need to urinate, it could be a sign that there’s a problem. It’s important to note that nocturia is very different than polyuria, a condition in which you urinate more than is normal at one time.
Symptoms of Nocturia
The primary symptom of nocturia is having to urinate frequently throughout the night. Normally, you should be able to sleep between six and eight hours in a row without having to get up to use the bathroom. When you have nocturia, you may find yourself waking up every two to three hours just to pee.
In some cases, nocturia can also happen alongside polyuria, when you urinate more volume than is normal. You may find that you’re tired all the time during the day because of the frequent interruptions to your sleep cycle. You may even have trouble getting to sleep, even when you’re tired because your body knows your sleep cycle will be interrupted.
In this video, one of our certified VA disability lawyers discusses how sleep disorders can be connected to military service:
Causes of Nocturia
There can be a number of different causes of nocturia, depending on whether or not you also have polyuria. Oftentimes, nocturia is caused by a problem with your bladder. Your bladder may not be able to empty all the way when you urinate, causing it to fill up more quickly, or it may start signaling you that it’s full and triggering the urge to urinate before it really is.
Bladder obstruction or an enlarged prostate can both cause your bladder to be unable to fully empty when you urinate. If your bladder is unable to fill fully, it could be due to a bladder infection or bladder spasms. You may also have bladder swelling, bladder malignancy, or, as we’ll discuss more in a moment, obstructive sleep apnea.
Risk Factors for Developing Nocturia
There are a number of different factors that could increase your risk of developing nocturia. First and foremost is age – the older you get, the more likely you are to have trouble with your bladder. Under the age of 50, women are more likely to get nocturia. Everyone stays about even from 50-60, and then men take the lead in the 60+ age categories. This may be attributed to the side effects of an enlarged prostate.
If you have had any previous bladder, urinary tract, or prostate problems in the past, you could be at a higher risk of developing nocturia. People with diabetes, cardiac disease, or a BMI over 23 may also be at higher risk. Anxiety, high blood pressure, and alcohol consumption can all also increase your risk of developing nocturia.
Connection Between Nocturia and Sleep Apnea
We mentioned earlier that obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) could cause nocturia. In fact, nocturia is so common among people with sleep apnea that it has become a screening factor in diagnosing sleep apnea. More people with sleep apnea (84 percent) reported nocturia as part of their symptoms than reported snoring (82 percent).
When you experience sleep apnea, your brain sends a variety of panic signals throughout your body. Your blood becomes more acidic, your heart rate drops, and the blood vessels in your lungs constrict.
Your heart sends an emergency notice to the body that it needs to dump sodium and water immediately, which causes your bladder to kick into gear and send signals to your brain that you need to urinate.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
So what is obstructive sleep apnea anyhow, and why does it send your body into such a panic? Sleep apnea is a condition in which the muscles in the back of your throat relax when you sleep. Your soft palate drops down, closing off your throat and stopping you from being able to take in enough oxygen.
As the oxygen levels in your body drop, you experience all the physical symptoms we mentioned – lowered heart rate, the buildup of carbon dioxide, and more. Your brain gets all these signals and, thinking you’re choking, wakes you up so you can breathe.
These little awakenings throughout the night can prevent you from reaching the deeper stages of sleep when your brain gets the rest it really needs.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers talks about sleep apnea VA disability ratings.
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Symptoms of Sleep Apnea
One of the most recognizable symptoms of sleep apnea is snoring, which is caused by the obstruction in your airways. You may stop breathing entirely for up to thirty seconds, or you may attempt to breathe, but take in no air. You might wake up choking or gasping as your brain attempts to rouse your body enough to get the oxygen it needs.
Nocturia is also a common symptom of sleep apnea, as we discussed. You may wake up with a dry mouth or a headache in the morning. Most of all, you may find yourself constantly tired, to the point that you fall asleep any time you sit down, and you may have trouble focusing or controlling mood swings during the day.
Causes of Sleep Apnea
The causes of sleep apnea are not exactly known, and they can vary by type of sleep apnea. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, your soft palate drops down as you sleep, closing off your throat. Doctors are still not sure why this occurs in some people and not in others, though there are factors that can increase your risk of sleep apnea.
There is also a more complicated form of sleep apnea called central sleep apnea (CSA). If you have this condition, your brain will fail to send the proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing when you sleep. You can also have complex sleep apnea syndrome, in which you have both obstructive and central sleep apnea.
Risk Factors of Sleep Apnea
There are a few factors that may increase your chances of developing sleep apnea. One of the biggest is weight; if you are overweight or obese, you are more likely to experience sleep apnea. Men are also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea, as are older adults.
You’re more likely to develop sleep apnea if you have blood relatives who have also been diagnosed with the condition. You may be more likely to experience sleep apnea if you drink alcohol, smoke, or take sedatives or tranquilizers. Certain conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure, and Parkinson’s disease may also increase your risk of sleep apnea.
Here one of our VA disability lawyers goes over the questions Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm, is often asked about veterans’ disability claims and appeals.
Nocturia and Other Conditions
Although nocturia may be frequently caused by sleep apnea, it can also be connected with several other conditions. If you have diabetes insipidus, you may experience nocturia as part of that condition. The resistance you develop to antidiuretic hormones limits the amount of water that can leave your body, which can cause nocturia.
Nocturia can also be connected to problems with your prostate or bladder. It may be a sign of heart failure, though it is certainly not the only symptom you’ll experience if that is the case. Nocturia can even be the result of post-traumatic stress disorder, depending on your particular situation.
Getting a Diagnosis
If you suspect you may have nocturia, it’s important to schedule an appointment with your doctor so you can get a diagnosis. Nocturia may be a symptom of a more serious disease, and it’s important that you get the treatment you need. Your doctor may begin their exam with a urine test to rule out infection or other easily treated causes of nocturia.
In order to diagnose you with nocturia, your doctor may ask you to keep a fluid and voiding diary for two days. During those two days, you’ll record how much fluid you take in and how frequently you have to go to the bathroom. They may also ask you to measure your pee so they can determine if you have nocturia, polyuria, or both.
Here are some tips on your C&P exam from one of our VA disability lawyers.
VA Ratings for Nocturia
If you were in the military and you have nocturia and/or sleep apnea, you could be entitled to compensation from the VA. The VA rates urinary conditions like nocturia based on how often you have to go. There are three different ratings you may receive from the VA for nocturia.
- If you have to wake up at least twice during the night to go to the bathroom, you could get a 10 percent rating from the VA.
- Go between three and four times a night, and you could get a 20 percent rating.
- Wake up five or more times every night to urinate, and you could be eligible for a 40 percent rating.
How VA Disability Ratings Work
So what are the VA ratings we’ve been talking about, and how do they work? If your disability claim gets approved, the VA will provide you with a rating to reflect the severity of your condition. The higher your rating, the more your condition impacts your ability to live a normal, healthy life.
VA disability ratings are expressed as percentages ranging from 10 to 100 percent. These ratings are usually rounded to the nearest 10 percent for compensation purposes. Your disability rating will be the single biggest determining factor in how much money you get from the VA each month.
Qualifying for VA Disability
In order to qualify for VA disability, you must meet three basic criteria. First of all, you must have an official diagnosis of your condition from a VA-approved medical professional. In most cases, your family doctor or any other traditionally certified doctor will meet VA standards.
You must also be able to point to a specific incident or set of conditions in your military service record that could have caused your condition. Finally, you must have a medical nexus saying that your condition was at least as likely as not caused by the condition in your service record. Your diagnosing doctor should be able to provide that nexus for you.
The Nexus Letter is like the missing link to a successful VA disability compensation claim. In this video, one of our veteran’s disability lawyers explains the importance of the Nexus Letter.
VA Compensation Rates
As we mentioned, the single biggest factor in determining your disability compensation rate will be your rating. If you have a disability rating of 10 percent, you’ll get $152.64 from the VA each month. If you have a rating of 20 percent, you’ll receive $301.74 tax-free each month.
For ratings of 30 percent and above, your compensation rate will depend on how many people rely on you financially. For instance, if you have a rating of 40 percent and no dependents, you’ll get $673.28 per month. But if you have a spouse and a child relying on you, the payment will be more.
Get Compensation Today
Nocturia can be a very disruptive disorder, keeping you from getting the sleep you need and leaving you tired and irritable during the day. Nocturia and sleep apnea are also frequent bedfellows (sorry), so if you get diagnosed with one, you should ask your doctor about the other. You can receive VA compensation for both conditions depending on how severe your symptoms are.
If you’d like to get help filing or appealing a VA disability claim, get in touch with us at Woods and Woods, The Veteran’s Firm. We fight for veterans every day, and you don’t pay unless we win. Contact us today and start getting the compensation you deserve.
Your doctor may want you to have a sleep study to diagnose your apnea or other sleep problems, but for nocturia alone you’ll probably just have to keep a “fluid and voiding diary.” You keep track of how much you drink and pee for a few days and that’s all they need.
It may sound strange, but the answer is nocturia. More people with sleep apnea complain of nocturia than snoring and nocturia interrupts your sleep as opposed to the other person in your bed. So while snoring interrupts your partner’s sleep, nocturia interrupts yours, so be sure to include it in your VA disability claim.