Sleep apnea question

Gomez

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PEB Forum Veteran
I am a National Guardsman who was on Title 10 active duty orders in 2005-2006. I am in the IDES process. I was diagnosed by the VA with sleep apnea about a year after coming off of active duty orders. I use a CPAP.

The VA is in the process of rating me under IDES. My eBenefits shows that the VA will not service connect my sleep apnea because there is no mention of it in my medical records during the time I was on Title 10 active duty orders. I believe I had sleep apnea while on active duty but had never even heard of the term, so I was never diagnosed with it. Sleep apnea is documented on my annual National Guard Physical Health Assessments and VA records but not on my active duty records.

My question is this: Since I was put on active duty orders for 5 days in 2011 to go for VA/QTC evaluation as part of the IDES process, and was documented as having sleep apnea during this evaluation, wouldn’t this service connect me for sleep apnea while on active duty orders? Should I appeal the VA’s decision to not service connect me for sleep apnea based on being diagnosed with sleep apnea during these 5 day active duty orders?
 

grizz13

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I wouldn't think so, due to it being a EPTS (Existing Prior To Service) for the 5 days of AD.
 

Gomez

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I don't see that EPTS would be applicable. I did not have sleep apnea prior to entering active military service and also have over 8 years of active service, so EPTS would not be applicable. My sleep apnea (snoring, breathing stopping while sleeping) began while I was on Title 10 active duty orders in the National Guard but I did not get it documented in my medical records. Only after leaving acitive duty and returning to the National Guard, was I was diagnosed by the VA with sleep apnea and began usiing a CPAP.

So back to my original question: "Since I was put on active duty orders for 5 days in 2011 to go for VA/QTC evaluation as part of the IDES process, and was documented as having sleep apnea during this evaluation, wouldn’t this service connect me for sleep apnea while on active duty orders? Should I appeal the VA’s decision to not service connect me for sleep apnea based on being diagnosed with sleep apnea during these 5 day active duty orders?"
 

SPC Leggett

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Registered Member
Just do an appeal and see what happens but if its not on your medical records, and only when u did and evaluation I doubt you would win

You also have to see it from their view, you didn't have it documents for the 8 years you was on active duty but all of a sudden it shows up doing an Va exam..it would sound fishy to them as it would to anyone else
 

smacinnes40

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there correct, anytime someone gets diagnosed with sleep apnea they have a sleep study done and that is put into your medical file. if you did this while on active duty, then get copies from where you did the study. if you did not do a study, then it will not be considered a diagnosis.
 

ssgt

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What if you had documentation showing you had numerous dr visits for fatigue and sleep disturbances and the Dr threw pills at it? Now at the va exam is this connectable?
 

SPC Leggett

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What if you had documentation showing you had numerous dr visits for fatigue and sleep disturbances and the Dr threw pills at it? Now at the va exam is this connectable?
i doubt it, all you did was go to the doctor saying you can sleep so your treatment was pills, that not really a diagnosis that the Va would rate you for, only way you can be service connected for sleep apnea is doing a sleep study and given a CPAP, or try and claim insomnia
 

Gomez

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PEB Forum Veteran
I was given a sleep study, diagnosed with sleep apnea and given a CPAP by the VA after being released from active duty. I am convinced that I had sleep apnea while on active duty but was misdiagnosed and given sleeping pills. Bottom line is that I did not get it addressed and documented while deployed to active duty while on Title 10 orders, so I don't plan to appeal. Thanks for everybody's input.
 

smacinnes40

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That's correct you have to be referred by a PCM or at the MTF for sleep study and then a diagnosis is completed. Once they diagnose you then they set up an appt to see if you are mild, moderate or severe. If you meet any of these qualifications then you are put on treatment with cpap. They will monitor it every 30 days. You will do a download to see if it's working after 2-3 months then the pulmonary doctor will issue you a new profile changing from temp to permanent 2 or 3 depending on your diagnosis. I hope this helps. So your best bet is to request a sleep study from your PCM if you have one. VA will only work with veterans or those in the IDES system MEB.
 

alphahec

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If you are rated, let's say for PTSD/MDD and they prescribed you something like Ativan that aggravates your OSA. Then you can appeal on that basis.
 

Gomez

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PEB Forum Veteran
Thanks smachines 40, but as I mentioned, I have already undergone a thorough sleep study by the VA, diagnosed with sleep apnea, and given a CPAP. The VA has no problem acknowledging that I have SA. The problem is that I have no documented nexus (connection) back to my active duty service when I was deployed to Iraq on Title 10 orders, so they denied service connection. I am currently in the IDES and the VA is in the process of issuing my ratings. My original question was, since I am still in the military (National Guard), was placed on active duty orders for 4 days for a VA/QTC IDES medical exam, have documentation from that exam that I have sleep apnea, then why are the raters denying service-connection for SA? Is is that I had to be on Title 10 orders for more than 30 days or something like that, rather than the 4 day active duty orders for a VA IDES exam in order to be service-connected? I guess I'm just confused on why the VA won't rate/service connect me since I'm still in the National Guard roles and have medical documentation acknowledging sleep apnea while on 4 day active duty orders under IDES.
 

Gomez

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PEB Forum Veteran
I was looking through my military documents and found on my Post Deployment Health Assessment DD Form 2796 that I filled after returning from deployment but before being released from active duty. It had a question: "Do you have any of these symptoms now or did you develop them anytime during this deployment?" I marked boxes as 'yes' for "Still feeling tired after sleeping," and "Difficulty breathing." Can this PDHA be used as evidence for sleep apnea or do I have to have a medical person's 'record of medical treatment' document showing treatment for sleep apnea?
 

maparker

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Yes, the PDHA is an important piece of evidence that the condition began or was aggravated while on active duty.

In terms of the four days of active duty, again, the standard is if the condition began or was aggravated while on active duty. Thus, I don't think you can demonstrate the condition began or was aggravated during this four day stint. Had you been in a car accident during that four day period, it would be service connected.

If I remember right, if a condition is diagnosed and rateable at a compensable level within 12 months of separating from active duty, there is a presumption the condition is service connected. Is that appliacable in your case?

Mike
 

Gomez

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PEB Forum Veteran
No, unfortunately, it was first diagnosed by the VA sleep clinic at 14 months after I separated from active duty.

Perhaps I should appeal and use the PDHA along with complaints of symptoms (e.g. sleep problems, fatigue during the day, narcotic sleep meds) that are recorded in my active duty service medical records. Worth a try I suppose.
 

Jason Perry

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You have to look at chronicity of the condition as a basis for service connection. This seems like the most likely argument supporting service connection. I have posted on this issue in the past (but it has been several years). I will look to see if I can find you the link to my previous posts on this. It may take me some time to find this.
 

SPC Leggett

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I was looking through my military documents and found on my Post Deployment Health Assessment DD Form 2796 that I filled after returning from deployment but before being released from active duty. It had a question: "Do you have any of these symptoms now or did you develop them anytime during this deployment?" I marked boxes as 'yes' for "Still feeling tired after sleeping," and "Difficulty breathing." Can this PDHA be used as evidence for sleep apnea or do I have to have a medical person's 'record of medical treatment' document showing treatment for sleep apnea?
Yea you might have checked it off when you did the health assessment but if you wasn't diagnosed or seen after by a doctor after doing so then you writing down doesn't mean anything
 

maparker

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Actually the VA/courts have ruled an individual is competent to provide evidence of his/her symptoms. Absolutely get the PDHA to the VA and in your IDES file.

Mike
 

SPC Leggett

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Registered Member
I
Actually the VA/courts have ruled an individual is competent to provide evidence of his/her symptoms. Absolutely get the PDHA to the VA and in your IDES file.

Mike
Im not saying you shouldn't give it to them but their are two parts of the PDHA, the online part where u fill out the form and the Doc part where he/she goes over whatever he wrote down, so the doc should have evaluated him and sent him to do a sleep study or whatever is needed to be diagnosed

You cant use your own statement which is the Form portion of the PDHA as evidence with the VA without a doc evaluation backing it up and expect to win
 

maparker

Moderator
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What I am saying is that the court has rule that an individual is competent to report on his own experiences and symptoms and that the VA must give that consider that evidence during their evaluation and ratings.

If he was diagnosed with sleep apnea 14 months after separation, and he documented symptoms of sleep apnea during his PDHA, that should weigh in his favor that the condition began while on active duty.


Mike
 

SPC Leggett

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Registered Member
What I am saying is that the court has rule that an individual is competent to report on his own experiences and symptoms and that the VA must give that consider that evidence during their evaluation and ratings.

If he was diagnosed with sleep apnea 14 months after separation, and he documented symptoms of sleep apnea during his PDHA, that should weigh in his favor that the condition began while on active duty.


Mike
Trust me I've seen enough threads and heard enough stories to know that he would have to had been diagnosed during active duty to make it a service connection regardless of symptoms or not, now if he was treated for his symptoms then that's a different story but just putting it down on a form but not seeing a doc for it is not enough evidence to make it service connected
 
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