The Gulf War Veterans’ Illnesses Task Force (GWVI-TF) 2012 Report

Sleep Apnea should be a Presumptive Condition for Gulf War Vets

Sleep Apnea should be made a Presumptive Condition for All Gulf War Veterans! Every Gulf War Vet I know has Sleep Apnea, including myself. Currently, "Undiagnosed Sleep Disturbances" are considered a presumptive for us, but good luck getting a VA Doc to diagnose you with an "Undiagnosed" condition. Diagnosed Sleep Apnea is prevalant in the Gulf War Vet population, and should be service connectable on a presumptive basis.

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    HankhillHankhill shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
    Steven RussellSteven Russell shared a merged idea: Sleep Apnea is very common among Gulf War Veterans. It should be made a presumptive condition  ·   · 

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      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        i dont understand if so many of us have sleep apnea why want they make it service connectable i did not have the until after the gulf war

      • TerryTerry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I'm a Desert Storm Vet. and I have tried to get disability for sleep apnea but was told I had a irregular heartbeat only, my heartbeat issues started because I stop breathing while sleeping during desert storm and was hospitalize for a week. I have grown tired of the fight with the V.A., the V.A. wasn't giving anyone sleep apnea fro that time frame.

      • TyTy commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I wad waiting for my study and no one called me back! This was 10 years ago. I submit another request again and I never had anyone call me back. I wrote the congress person in my district, I thought that would help? Yeah right. So last year I submit a sleep study in October of last year. I was told that it would be in September 2014 because they are backlogged.

      • RealistRealist commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Wah, wah, wah. Let's see how much we can rip off Uncle Sam for. Get a life. No one forced you to enlist. You are not hero's, you're just another government employee doing a job. And dont't give me that we fought for your freedoms and way of life. B.S. No member of the military has fought for anything like that since WWII. It's a shame you all can't see that you have been fighting not for America, but for corporate interests and power brokers since then, otherwise know as the Military Industrial Complex. Dubious VA disability benefits are helping to bankrupt this country which you so nobly volunteered to serve. Not a very noble or heroic thing to do, to try and get whatever you can out of the taxpayers...

      • Jim BunkerJim Bunker commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        central apnea can be caused be neurological problems and also due to medication for pain. If you are on pain meds for a illness or injury that is service related and SC by the VA, you maybe able to get the SA as secondary to that. You would have to have a doctor say that is is at less a 50% / 50 %or better.

      • Gil USMC 1991Gil USMC 1991 commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Just got my sleep apnea denial from the VA. Served in the USMC in the gulf, went to mopp level four twice, took the nerve agent pills, and camped for months next to oil fires, all that I believe caused my apnea which also got classified as central apnea. What can we do to get it classified as presumptive. I'm going to appeal, but a hear its 0% chance. They did make my broncotis service connected noncompensable.

      • Jim BunkerJim Bunker commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Col Kent the problem was that the research never went to the next step on the sleep study for gulf war veterans. The researchers told the RAC the problem is they cannot get the number of veterans needed for the study for a large scale study. While the VA can look at the number of Desert Storm veterans that are Dx with SA and other DX illness as they were to, they to this date have not. The VA only looks for mental illness problem. When one looks for only one thing they will never see the whole battle field.

      • dd commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It's sucks to be us. Two veterans might have the same claim characteristics; gulf war, environmental exposure, etc... For Sleep apnea you need to have at least one indication that it started while in service. Sleeping disturbances, chronic cough, etc... But the sad thing here depends on the examiner you had during the examination. They most of the time are required to provide an opinion, but if you had one of them that woke up in a bad mood that day, or he/she think, based on their knowledge, that the condition just do not have any relation to service; you are with the majority of the veterans; with a denied claim. Pleople, when you submit a claim for any condition, you must do research. Please submit something that help them determine whether your condition is related to any event in service.

        reference: https://www.google.com.pr/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=4&ved=0CEcQFjAD&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.benefits.va.gov%2Fwarms%2Fdocs%2Fadmin21%2Fm21_1%2Fmr%2Fpart3%2Fsubptiv%2Fch03%2Fch03_seca.doc&ei=PhD3Ucp4h63gA-HRgKAL&usg=AFQjCNEV3BO0f-eayyadQJE3dCrg4O32PQ&sig2=5iVz3WeKfCo26OMpVd4j7g

      • EzjayEzjay commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I think the question should be " why is it that some Gulf War Vets receive compensation for sleep apnea, and some don't?"...These high tech studies should reviel this to us, or is it the way we go by requesting assistance? I would really like to know the answer and what is it those of us who continue to be turned down have to do.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        No reason for this to be taking over 20 years.

        That CPAP study was first proposed in 2005, Now 8 years later, we have advanced no where. With the recent whistle blower information, and the other links posted elsewhere on here, its obvious the government through the VA is hiding something.

        It would be a simple matter for the VA to look at their data base, and see how many DS vets have sleep apnea listed on their problem list. and compare that to the civilian population.

        Why does Congress have to force the VA at every step?

      • JKentAdminJKent (Admin, Department of Veterans Affairs) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I know it is painful to see small studies and some seem like a no brainer. Fact is that this is how science is advanced. It generally starts with someone seeing a pattern and making a study to see if it can be proven with data. The first step is a small scale study, like this one, with a very manageable number of study participants in a very closely controlled setting (no random distractors). If the researcher does this well, the results are statistically valid and reliable to say that the study demonstrated what the researcher was looking at (say CPAP use reduces some specific group of symptoms based on some accepted measure for those symptoms). Once that is proven (hopefully), the scientist can propose and conduct a large study, maybe including participants and researchers from multiple locations. Those larger studies validate or refute the smaller one(s). If all goes well, the final step is something called a clinical trial. That is generally a larger study still, and it is done in a more normal clinical treatment setting. The goal is to sort out and determine a science based and proven approach to implement a research finding in the pratical setting.

        So, a very arduous and sometimes painfully slow process, but in the long term it is how science and medicine develop repeatable and effective treatments, identify connections between exposures and symptoms or biological markers (medical tests), etc. This scientific detail is what other researchers look at when they decide what to study, what providers look at when they decide how to treat patients, and what organizations like the IOM and the RAC look at when they make recommendations or draw conlusions about health issues. Unfortunately not every study is well done and not every study has positive results so there is a need to ne methodical and detail oriented. Hope this helps a bit. It doesn't answer all the concerns I know, but it is the process at work.

      • EzjayEzjay commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        "Our findings in this pilot study suggest that nasal CPAP may greatly improve symptoms in veterans with GWI and sleep disordered breathing"

        Ya think?..That same information could have been achieved from any VA hospital...Sleep Lab....Wonder why the local V.A. hospitals don't offer up some of their result studies..in particular, sleep lab results. Technology is there, and money can be saved...Those results have been known since "Sleep Apnea" was first diagnosed in man.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Jkent, Ok I see that. But look at the numbers, with only testing 18vets, the results are statistically useless for our claims purpose, but they should be alarming enough to put further gulf war/sleep apnea studies on the top of the list.

        Kind of a slipperry slope there, you say the CPAP helps us, then they can say we do not have CFS

        They need to look at all of our symptoms as one, issue, and look for the autoimune/ neurological disorder it is, something akin to MS. Then set up a rating system for GWi, similar to how MS is rated.

      • JKentAdminJKent (Admin, Department of Veterans Affairs) commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Good link anonymous. The results are listed though, under the "More Information" and Publications section. The publications describe the results. The first one listed says CONCLUSIONS: Our findings in this pilot study suggest that nasal CPAP may greatly improve symptoms in veterans with GWI and sleep disordered breathing. The other two probably report on the other two "hypotheses" in the proposal.

      • Randy RothleutnerRandy Rothleutner commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I was diagnosed with Sleep Apnea shortly after I left my last deployment when I was getting treatment for PTSD. The doctor discussed with me my increasing inability to sleep through the night, and the discussion prompted a referral to get a sleep study. I went through the Sleep Study and was diagnosed with sleep apnea that required a CPAP. I then filed for compensation, through OIF and was turned down like so many others, because I didn't complain of sleep problems while I was on active duty. I didn't argue about it, I was too busy dealing with my PTSD, anger issues, short memory loss, etc… and a year past - case closed no Compensation for a Sleep Disorder.

        Then a couple years later talked to a Veterans Rep, who helped me file for a Compensation claim based on Gulf War un-diagnosed illnesses. That too was denied...

        I served 24 years with about 12 of those being active duty. I was deployed desert shield/storm, and OIF both in the Middle East sand boxes.

        I find it odd that these can’t be linked with either Gulf War or OIF, especially since I was diagnosed shortly after leaving active duty the second time, yet since I didn't complain about sleep problems while on active duty it is deemed not associated with or at least a condition being worsened because of active service during the Gulf War or OIF…

        I served, and would do it again… I just can’t believe the red tape and strategies that the VA uses to not pay a claim like we all have reading these comments “just looking for a solution”

        I sleep nightly hooked to a machine. I do believe the VA has a tough road with all the Vets, but I also believe this is an area, they would rather just push a side and act like it’s not a real “connected” problem. I hope everyone that reads this applies three votes to bring this problem into the spotlight.

        Thanks to all of you that served, and would do it again in a heartbeat..!!

      • EzjayEzjay commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Well, some of get compensation and assistance for sleep apnea, and some of us dont...I didnt know anyone on active duty with sleep apnea when I was in...We all got it after we left the sand box.. It absolutely should be included in presumptive...I may be wrong but as a suffer of sleep apnea I would say it is a sleep disorder...probably the worse sleep disorder you can have.

      • Stephen PullumStephen Pullum commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I absolutely agree!! I never had sleeping or snoring problems until after the Gulf War. In 1995, I had a sleep study done (privately) and was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. I had to obtain a CPAP privately. The VA finally got in the ball and obtained that study and the records and now issue me a CPAP and supplies when needed. But not until after the Gulf War was this EVER an issue in my life. The problem is that not one active duty doctor will put that in your active medical records, or they did not at the time I was active duty. Even the associated symptoms of high blood pressure and hypertension they would not put into your records because it would mean a discharge. But now it is not a problem with currently separating veterans. What about us????

      • Elmer L. VaupelElmer L. Vaupel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Mine showed up in 2002 along with my aortic valve replacement. Since they were not undiagnosed by the VA prior to my surgery and my sleep study they VA will not consider them for GW illnesses. If I had known about this I would have gone to the VAMC.

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