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Sleep Apnea and the Military

This area is for Sleep Apnea questions and general Sleep Apnea Discussions.


Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby Jimr2010 » Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:48 pm

Thanks for the response. At this point, I want out. I don't have the strength to fight or advocate for myself. If they kick me out with no benefits I won't complain. I want to stay alive for my family. I'm mentally worn out. I hate who I am, the way I look, I'm just a "lazy fat body."
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Re: Sleep apnea in the military

Postby doc904 » Wed Mar 20, 2013 6:23 pm

Guest wrote:I'm a soldier in the U.S. Army. I had convulsions like symptons about a year ago. I had a sleep study about 10 months ago. They lost my results. So now I'm deploying to Iraq Shortly. I also have Acid Reflux. I wake up with headaches, snore tired all the time, bad memory,Etc... After I eat I have trouble breatheing. My unit Doctor told me it is't serious. How true is it and how long to you have to sleep apnea for it to be serious, or can you wait another year to maybe fix it????


Unless your trying to find a way out of deployment to Irag which is my understanding that there are no longer any troops in Irag. Sleep apnea can cause acid reflux and other problems which are serious, you can die in your sleep from sleep apnea, it won't get better in a year unless the reason you have it is because of obesity and you loose the weight. Find another military doctor and keep looking until you find the one who will listen to you or they end up boarding you out of the military, you can't be deployed to a combat zone if you have sleep apnea.

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Re: Sleep apnea in the military

Postby DreamDiver » Sat Jul 20, 2013 7:35 am

doc904 wrote:
Guest [Postby Guest » Tue Nov 08, 2005 9:04 pm] wrote:I'm a soldier in the U.S. Army. I had convulsions like symptons about a year ago. ...


...there are no longer any troops in Irag...
What you say is true, but this was originally posted in 2005. We were still a mostly-clueless nation about CPAP back then, eh? I wonder if they "lost" the paperwork because they needed people on the ground. In the past eight years, I'm curious how the military may or may not have changed with regards to soldiers with sleep apnea.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby 30+yearsergeant » Thu Aug 15, 2013 7:47 pm

It appears as though there is not many recent discussions on this topic. I am new to this forum. Additionally, I am a newly diagnosed person with OSA. In fact I was diagnosed back in 2005 with OSA and I will write about that in a minute.

First let me explain a little about myself and my military career. I enlisted in the USN in 1982 at the age of 19. I served just under 9 years before I decided to depart the Navy for the Air National Guard. I have been serving as a full-time federal technician ever since. For those of you who don't understand how this works, it is quite simple. I work full-time in the ANG as a civilian federal civil service technician. The military likes to call my status as a military technician. I have to wear the uniform as a condition of employment, attend guard drills one weekend a month and serve at least 15 consecutive days of active duty per year. Everything I do on a day to day basis is exactly like the active duty Air Force would do, except that we are a little more grounded and relaxed than the AD Air Force.

So, back to my recently diagnosed OSA. In 2005 my wife complained that my snoring was getting so bad that she could hear it in every room of our house. I was about 40 lbs overweight (while still passing my PFT's) at the time so I went to my doctor and had a sleep study performed. The results revealed moderate to sever sleep apnea. I stopped breathing 121 times in a 4.5 hour sleep period. The average was in the neighborhood of 25 times per hour. The average length of not breathing was 22 seconds with the longest period of not breathing at 36 seconds. Snoring was extremely loud. My O2 level was at 69%. The threshold for a diagnosis is to stop breathing for no longer than 10 seconds and maintain an O2 level at 90% or higher. My numbers were considerably worse. When I met with the doctor to discuss options he said that I had 3 options. 1. get surgery (insurance only covered a portion of it) which was only 50% successful. 2. get the CPAP machine, and 3. was to lose weight. I told him I would like to try option 3 and see where that gets me. He sent me on my way. I began an aggressive weight loss and exercise program and lost over 50 lbs. I never felt better in my entire life. My wife told me I still snored but it was about 50% quieter than before and tolerable. I even bought a dental device online from puresleep which I could mold so that my lower jar was held forward (in front of my upper jar, imitating a serious underbite) which helped prevent my tongue from relaxing further back in my throat and blocking my airway. Everything was good or so I thought.

Fast Forward to current day, about 8 years later. I gained about 20 lbs back and was still well within my waist measurement and passed my PT with an 88.9 score. My wife told me that my snoring was getting bad again and my breathing was stopping frequently again throughout the night. I went to get another sleep study. This time the doctor (different from the 2005 doctor) was able to review the results from the 2005 study also in which I provided. He was quite upset with me. He asked me why was I not already on a CPAP machine. He noted the above statistics and mentioned that I also had a ADI/RDI 25 score. I told him what my doctor said and that the doctor seemed to agree that weight loss would be a good first option. My current doctor said that weight loss can certainly help but "will not" reverse sleep apnea. He said that if you have OSA then you have it. The benefit of weight loss is quieter snoring and better overall health but not OSA reduction.

How does this new diagnosis affect my Military Career? There is no exact answer to this question. You see the retainability of a reserve member (Guard) is different than an active duty (Air Force) member. Active Duty members go in front of a MEB (medical evaluation board) and civilian military technicians go in front of Guard Bureau. I work with three other civilian military technicians, who are also in the guard wearing a military uniform everyday, were easily able to take a medical disability and discharge. I am being told that the rules are changing and now I may not be able to take a medical discharge because many have now come forward seeking a medical discharge and potential medical disability. I am being told that if my sleep apnea (regardless of severity) is controlled with the use of a CPAP machine then I am considered a C-1 and fit for worldwide duty. I have a huge problem with this determination. Can the military promise me that I will have electrical power 100% of the time in the form of 120 volts? When out in the field, will they provide a power generator so that my CPAP machine is powered? Can they guarantee me distilled water? Can they guarantee me various power adapters and transformers so my machine will receive the proper electricity since virtually every county has a different type of AC power? Can they guarantee me an immediate CPAP machine replacement within 24 hours if my current machine fails (probably because of the wrong A/C power)? Can they provide mask and hose parts should mine become defective, break, or tear? Can the military ensure that I deploy to a clean, dust free environment? I can go on and on here. So I question, why would the military would want to keep someone who is such a liability?

I'll keep you updated as to the outcome of my status. Until then, Sleep tight!
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby truckerdad57 » Wed Aug 21, 2013 2:48 pm

30+

Your latest sleep doc was right. You should have been on CPAP since 2005. Weight loss alone often does not "cure" sleep apnea.

On the militarty questions. I am not a veteran I happen to be a long hual over the road truck driver with sleep apnea. I deal with many of the practical issues you raise in your post.

Some of the problems you are facing may be related to what is on this article.

I disagree with many of the points raised.

http://www.stripes.com/news/veterans/at ... e-1.223588

I have reached out to a driver friend who is a former Navy Seal who drove truck and now works for a driver advocacy group. Hopefully he may be able to add some more useful information.

My understanding is that having OSA does affect your deployability. I have worked with other soldiers fighting a determination that they could not deploy with their units to a forward base. (The exact opposite of what you are trying to do.)

On all of the practical issues the real question is are you willing to accept the fact that having OSA will create some inconveniences you will need to work around ... or ... are you trying to use having sleep apnea as an excuse to never be deployed.

I have been dealing with the practical issues of having OSA in a sleeper berth equipped truck for 11 years now. They can be managed.

Transcend is a battery operated portable CPAP. It has been used by soldier deployed to forward bases in Iran and Iraq. The company even did some in a desert digital camo pattern for some that requested it. CPAP use DC power internally so foriegn power supplies are not an issue. Most CPAP are sold internationally.

CPAP can be used in dry dusty environments. You just need to clean or change the air intake filters more often. Augmenting humidification with nasal irrigation (see forum stickies) also helps.

A common sense precaution is to carry a spare mask. I carry a spare CPAP but have only had one CPAP failure in 11 years. It was in 2002 before many of the improvements to CPAP design were available.

I could go through all of the other objections you list. They all can be dealt with if you try.

You need to decide. Is having sleep apnea going to be something you use as a crutch or excuse to avoid deployment or is it something you are going to deal with and work out the issues and problems around.

Having sleep apnea is something you need to accept will be with you for the rest of your life. It can be handled and you will feel so much better on treatment you won't want to even think about not using a CPAP.

On the other hand it may effect your military career. OSA has affected my career in trucking. I chose to work out solutions to the problems and now try to help other find solutions to there's. You need to decide which approach you are going to take.

Bob
(just a truck driver with sleep apnea)
Co-coordinator Truckers for a Cause Chapter of A. W. A. K. E.
awake.truckersforacause.com
Do not substitute information from here for professional medical advise.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby mark williams » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:32 pm

I recently was denied sleep apnea claim with the va. The va removed 2/3 of my right lung back in the seventies due to service in viet nam. Before I entered the service I slept very well and after serving in viet nam and the lung removal I have had severe nightmares waking my family up from yelling in my sleep and never really sleeping all that well until I had my first sleep study in 2007 since then I have had 2 more studies and national jewish stated I have severe sleep apnea. My question is that since they remove my right lung and what I understand that took alot of my oxygen away and would that have caused sleep apnea. The va says there is no connection and I have to have prove of sleep apnea, back in the 60's and 70's how could you even complain about sleep apnea when nobody knew what is was.
Thanks to anyone who could put some light on this.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby Joe_Y » Mon Oct 14, 2013 9:21 pm

Been in the army for only a year now. While I was at basic and airborne school peers consistently told me I sounded like I had sleep apnea. Once I got to Bragg for training, I got a sleep study done, it confirmed I have sever sleep apnea at an AHI rating of 39. My Height and weight status is 6'1, 190lbs.. So weight isn't the concern. I saw an ENT surgeon who wants to do a UPPP / tonsillectomy surgery along with realigning a deviated septum. Though I'm considering doing an orthognathic (jaw surgery) operation for multiple reasons..

Anyways. My contract is with the national guard, so it looks like what the army is going to do is send me home and have me remain on an active status until I have the opportunity to surgically correct this. However, depending on what surgery I get may potentially conflict with the guard keeping me on an active status because jaw surgery is very extensive while a UPPP tends to have a quick recovery process.

Has anyone ever dealt with sleep apnea being in the guard? My fall back MOS is 11b which probably won't work well having a CPAP. You think if I opt for the more extensive surgery that may be grounds for a medical discharge? Any insight is welcome and appreciated!
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby John111 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:35 pm

I would keep reviewing what the VA is currently doing with researching the disability designation. Try to look for articles on the internet that address the following topic. This is the title of a most recent article on the topic. "VA Looks to Tighten Sleep Apnea Rating Schedule" If you probe deeply into the information, you might be able to find out how things like surgery might impact the ratings for a disability declaration or medical discharge. They might be going over and redesignating the various procedures and treatments with regards to declaring the level of disability.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby jonathanjoe12 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:15 am

Joe_Y wrote:Been in the army for only a year now. While I was at basic and airborne school peers consistently told me I sounded like I had sleep apnea. Once I got to Bragg for training, I got a sleep study done, it confirmed I have sever sleep apnea at an AHI rating of 39. My Height and weight status is 6'1, 190lbs.. So weight isn't the concern. I saw an ENT surgeon who wants to do a UPPP / tonsillectomy surgery along with realigning a deviated septum. Though I'm considering doing an orthognathic (jaw surgery) operation for multiple reasons..

Anyways. My contract is with the national guard, so it looks like what the army is going to do is send me home and have me remain on an active status until I have the opportunity to surgically correct this. However, depending on what surgery I get may potentially conflict with the guard keeping me on an active status because jaw surgery is very extensive while a UPPP tends to have a quick recovery process.

Has anyone ever dealt with sleep apnea being in the guard? My fall back MOS is 11b which probably won't work well having a CPAP. You think if I opt for the more extensive surgery that may be grounds for a medical discharge? Any insight is welcome and appreciated!


I have sleep apnea and am active duty in a expeditionary warfare area - they have CPAP machines with battery packs now that can travel with you. Sleep apnea was not disqualifying for me as long as there was no excessive daytime sleepiness. The CPAP will have a filter to keep out dust, a small portable case, and a battery pack so you should be able to deal with sleep apnea with a CPAP regardless of your job. Hope that helps.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby jonathanjoe12 » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:22 am

Jimr2010 wrote:Thanks for the response. At this point, I want out. I don't have the strength to fight or advocate for myself. If they kick me out with no benefits I won't complain. I want to stay alive for my family. I'm mentally worn out. I hate who I am, the way I look, I'm just a "lazy fat body."

Hang in there, the system has protections in place for people in your situation. Don't give up on yourself or your dreams and goals.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby jonathanjoe12 » Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:17 am

There are lots of good resources that can help you. The va's site is a great resource which can walk you through many helpful services. Don't forget about militaryonesource - they can do just about anything. If you call them they can go so far as to line up counseling or get you in contact with any number of experts who will help you.
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby jonathanjoe12 » Wed Feb 12, 2014 4:47 am

I know lots of people view this site so I wanted to mention a few things. First, sleep apnea is not disqualifying for military service. Excessive daytime sleepiness is disqualifying. That is a big difference. If your sleep apnea can be treated with a CPAP you should not be disqualified.
Also, CPAPs now have battery packs that allow you to use them without power outlets.
Finally, doctors are given a great amount of leeway with how they apply the standards to determine who is and who is not allowed to continue service based on the criteria above. I hope this helps. [Moderated. Breach of posting guidelines. Commercial Link Deleted]
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Re: Sleep Apnea and the Military

Postby treft88 » Tue Jun 24, 2014 11:24 am

I was diagnosed for sleep apnea through the va in Feb, i am over 6 ft and 175 and have sinus issues that are service connected, was wondering if that would have any connection there? I also suffered a concussion in South Korea in 2011...I recently submitted my claim to the VA and wont hear back till next year around this time till into Jan of 2016...seeing a bunch of older articles, in hopes i may get some sort of update or something to go off of until i hear back on my possible rating.
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