How Does Sleep Apnea Affect VA Ratings?

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a medical condition characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. It is caused when the airway becomes blocked, either partially or completely, preventing oxygen from reaching the lungs. These pauses can last for seconds to minutes and occur repeatedly throughout the night. People with sleep apnea often experience excessive daytime sleepiness, loud snoring, morning headaches, and difficulty concentrating. In severe cases, it can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke.
The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which occurs when the muscles at the back of your throat relax too much during sleep and block your airway. Other types include central sleep apnea (CSA) where there are pauses in breathing due to an interruption in signals from your brain that control breathing; complex/mixed-sleep apnea which combines both OSA and CSA; and upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS) which involves shallow breaths due to restricted airflow through the nose or mouth even though you’re still asleep.
Diagnosis typically includes a physical exam as well as a review of symptoms reported by patients or their bed partners such as snoring loudly or having difficulty staying asleep throughout the night despite feeling tired all day long. Sleep studies may also be used to measure how many times per hour someone stops breathing while sleeping along with other factors like oxygen levels in blood and heart rate variability before making a diagnosis of any type of sleep disorder including OSA