I was in a HMMWV accident in 1989 and sustained a “closed head injury” and “head trauma”. (They did not use terms like “TBI” in those days…) I was comatose and intubated for the first day and spent several days in the hospital. I was recently diagnosed with Narcolepsy with Cataplexy, which can be caused by TBI’s. Would it be possible to try to service connect Narcolepsy with such a long time gap between the initial injury and this new diagnosis? I have spent decades bouncing between doctors and specialists trying to figure out why I was so tired so I don’t have a medical history specifically diagnosing Narcolepsy until 2017. I do have all my hospital records, line of duty determination documents, etc.
I filed a claim with the help of my doctor for sleep apnea as secondary connection. Denied. Filed a NOD. Denied. The NOD was denied over a year ago. A doctor for the VA said my sleep apnea was due to being over weight and that I “refused” to use my CPAP. They offered me a hearing, but I never responded. I have tried off and on for 10 years to use a CPAP and just cannot use them. Discouraged by the whole process I just gave up.
Read this concerning weight:
“Unfortunately, too many people disregard the other risk factors for diabetes and think that weight is the only risk factor that raises the chances of a person developing a disease for type 2 diabetes. Most overweight people never develop type 2 diabetes, and many people with type 2 diabetes are at a normal weight or only moderately overweight.”
Read this on CPAP machines and surgery in a forum in Thailand:
“I went to Bummrumgard here in TH and the doctor told me he didn’t dispense them to overweight people they didn’t work well enough. He also didn’t do the expensive surgery for sleep apnea on older or overweight people.”
Bummrungrad is a well known and highly respected hospital in Bangkok. I went there for heart disease and diabetes, but not sleep apnea.
I’m now thinking about trying again. I have two questions:
Do I start over like it is a new claim?
Can someone recommend an attorney or doctor with experience in filing claims for sleep apnea?
I think I have a case. It most likely will end up having to go to a hearing, so I need expertise in filing the claim.
The number of veterans with sleep disorders went up six-fold during the last decade, while PTSD has become three times as common, researchers report in a study.
Sourced through Scoop.it from: www.upi.com
I get asked more questions about how to file and win a Veterans Affairs sleep apnea disability claim than almost any other topic in all of VA Benefits Law. [Reprinted here with permission from Veterans Law Blog]
True story. And I’ve been getting asked these questions for years. On top of that, for about 2 years, I noticed at my VA Benefits law firm and on the Veterans Law Blog that Veterans of all eras were seeking my help – from Vietnam to Cold War to Afghanistan and beyond – appealing their VA Sleep Apnea disability denials.
In short, I was seeing the sleep apnea disability hit the Veterans community like a typhoon! So a couple years ago, I started trying to figure out WHY the sleep apnea disability was such a problem in the Veterans community. – Chris Attig Veterans Law Blog
Trust me when I tell you this: a VA Sleep Apnea disability diagnosis has little or nothing to do with obesity and neck girth.
In the end, I wrote a book about how to claim and service connect the sleep apnea disability through the VA.
But I also learned a few extra things that I would like to share with you about the VA Sleep Apnea Disability claim. And that’s what today’s video is all about:
- Why were so many Veterans seeking service connection for sleep apnea?
- Why was sleep apnea affecting Veterans across all generations
- Why was it so hard for so many Veterans to win their VA sleep apnea disability claims?
- I talked to doctors (cardiologists, pulmonologists, sleep specialists, and more) about the 3 different types of sleep apnea disability diagnoses.
- I talked to hundreds of Veterans (from just about every era) and looked at dozens of their C-Files to see if I could figure out why some Veterans won their VA Sleep apnea disability claims and others did not.
- I read just about every BVA Decision I could find on VA Sleep Apnea Disability appeals for a whole year.
Do you have questions about how to service connect sleep apnea claims?
Lesson #1: Sleep Apnea is a Killer.
Lesson #2: Sleep Apnea is affecting a LOT of Veterans.
Lesson #3: The VA & BVA really struggle to Service Connect Sleep Apnea claims.
Lesson #4: More Veterans Should be Able to Service Connect Sleep Apnea.
What is PTSD (Post-traumatic Stress Disorder)?
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that surfaces after experiencing a very dangerous, frightening, and uncontrollable event such as military combat exposure, a violent crime, a life-threatening accident such as a car wreck, criminal or sexual assault, a terrorist attack, or a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood, hurricane, or earthquake. Not everybody who is exposed to a stressor requires treatment. If left untreated, however, PTSD can affect individuals to the point that, over time, even their daily functions become seriously impaired. This places them at higher risk for self-medication and abuse with alcohol and drugs, domestic violence, unemployment and underemployment, homelessness, incarceration, and suicide. Research studies have also shown that PTSD is linked with co-occurring physical illnesses such as physician-diagnosed chronic pain, hypertension (high blood pressure), sleep disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
What are the symptoms of PTSD?
Symptoms of PTSD can be terrifying and usually start soon after the traumatic event, although they may not surface for weeks, months, or even years. PTSD symptoms fall into four categories:
1) avoidance (amnesia, disassociation, numbing, hyper-vigilance, controlling behavior, and isolation);
2) reliving or re-experiencing (flash- backs, sleep disorders, overwhelming feelings, and overreacting);
3) victimization (distrust of others, abandonment, helplessness, and fear of change); and
4) shame (feeling guilty, feeling as if you’re mentally ill, and feeling unworthy).
Untreated PTSD also can have a negative impact on one’s family and loved ones; sometimes those suffering from PTSD also develop symptoms of depression that are severe enough as to require additional treatment.
In acute PTSD, symptoms generally last one to three months after the traumatic event. In chronic PTSD, symptoms generally last three
months or longer, and with delayed onset PTSD, at least six months elapse between the traumatic event and the onset of symptoms. If your symptoms are bad enough, go directly to a hospital.
REMEMBER: If you recognize any of these symptoms, you are not alone and help is available. It is not your fault. Take a healthy risk and reach out for help.
What treatments are available for PTSD?
There are, fortunately, several evidence-based treatments for PTSD. These include cognitive therapy and exposure therapy; eye movement desensitization and reprocessing; and some medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Always discuss with your physician which medication may be right for you.
Where do I turn for help with PTSD?
The following organizations can provide assistance and referrals for PTSD:
Vet Centers – Vet Centers provide readjustment counseling and outreach services to all veterans who served in any combat zone. Services also are available for family members for military-related issues.
Source: Vietnam Veterans Of America
National Center for PTSD
Veterans Affairs Medical Centers
Mental Health America
Military One Source
www.militaryonesource.com (for active duty military)
International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies