While snoring alone is not enough to get you VA benefits, it may be a symptom of a more significant problem.
Snoring is included as one of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a compensable claim under the Code of Federal Regulations. Some other OSA symptoms include:
- Daytime fatigue
- Morning headaches
- Night sweats
- Waking up gasping for air
- Trouble getting up in the morning
The challenge with OSA is figuring out how to get it linked to your military service. One of the most common ways is getting it linked to service as a secondary condition.
If you take sleep medication to treat a service-connected condition and the sleep meds cause or aggravate your OSA, then you may have a case for a secondary condition claim. This is common when treating PTSD and other mental health conditions. On the other hand, many people naturally develop OSA as they get older, so without the medication link it may be difficult to connect to your military service.
But recent studies may provide an additional link. Research has shown that depression induces weight gain and obesity even without the use of medication, and obesity is known to predispose patients to OSA. Obesity has been associated with functional impairment and weakening in the upper airway muscles, which increases the likelihood of obstructed breathing and OSA.
In other words, if you have experienced weight gain as a result of mental health problems related to service and you think you have OSA symptoms, you may qualify for service connection for OSA on a secondary basis.
Weight gain that leads to sleep apnea does not even need to be caused by a mental health condition. Several veterans have experienced weight gain from diabetes mellitus and later develop OSA as a result.
OSA is a significant claim because if you are diagnosed and able to link it back to service (either directly or on a secondary basis), it often results in a 50 percent rating for OSA alone, particularly if you have been prescribed a CPAP machine, which is common.
If you have been unable to connect your sleep apnea to military service and the VA has denied your claims or issued inadequate ratings, the veterans’ law attorneys at Berry Law Firm may be able to help you fight the next battle. Contact us today.