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Disability For Sleep Apnea

Is Sleep Apnea A Disability?

According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), sleep apnea is not considered a disability. However, when it causes heart disorders and breathing problems, the SSA may consider the condition disabling. 

The determination of Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) disabilities vary based on the severity of obstructive sleep apnea. To qualify for payment, the disability must impact the person’s life in a severe way, greatly interfering with the major life activity of sleep.

Sleep apnea can be disabling when it causes severe health issues for a long period. Breathing problems, mental health issues, and heart issues can trouble a person when the condition does not get better from medication or other treatments.

What Is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing is interrupted. The breathing may repeatedly stop and start while an individual is sleeping. People with untreated symptoms are at higher risk of experiencing critical health conditions. 

When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to severe health conditions such as heart failure, diabetes, cancer, and heart attacks. It can even increase the risk of death. This is why it is critical to focus on the warning signs and recognize the condition early.

Types Of Sleep Apnea

As per the reports of the American Sleep Apnea Association, the total number of people affected by sleep apnea across the United States is 18 million. Following are the three types sleep apnea:

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This type of sleep apnea is characterized by blockage of the air passages and affects the muscles located at the back of the throat.
  • Central Sleep Apnea: In this type, impaired brain functioning is the culprit, whereby the brain stops sending messages to the body to breathe. 
  • Complex Sleep Apnea: This type includes the symptoms of both obstructive and central sleep apnea.

Symptoms of sleep apnea include:

  • Choking
  • Chronic and loud snoring
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Insomnia 
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore throat
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty remembering or retaining information

Disability For Sleep ApneaIf you experience any of these symptoms, you should immediately get in touch with your healthcare provider. Getting in touch with a healthcare provider at an early stage will help you get proper treatment for the condition before it worsens. 

We have outlined different symptoms that medical professionals may use to diagnose and treat the disease. Remember, disability for sleep apnea can occur if you fail to seek a healthcare professional’s assistance and the symptoms mentioned are left untreated.

Healthcare Providers That Can Treat Sleep Disorders

Whether you should seek a sleep specialist or a primary care doctor will depend on the severity of the symptoms you are experiencing. 

Primary care doctors – Most patients visit their healthcare provider and raise concerns about the symptoms. Based on the symptoms you describe and your overall health condition, your healthcare provider may further refer you to a specialist. 

Sleep specialists – If you have a severe sleep disorder, it makes sense to consult a sleep specialist. These are specialized medical professionals who have an understanding and in-depth knowledge of sleep disorders. 

Pulmonologists – Sleep apnea directly affects an individual’s breathing patterns. As a result, breathing may stop and start abruptly. Many people also experience related conditions, such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 

Dentists – Dental professionals do much more than treat gums and fill cavities. A proper examination will help them evaluate the condition of your teeth and your overall health. You should also know that some dentists are familiar with and know how to treat certain sleep disorders. 

Neurologists – According to scientists and researchers, sleep apnea can occur because of neurological conditions. Impaired brain and nerve function can be the cause of sleep apnea or make it worse. Consulting a neurologist may help you get relief and prevent further damage. 

Psychiatrists – Sleep apnea is associated with anxiety, depression, and poor concentration. Improper sleep can lead to chronic stress which disrupts normal functioning of the brain. Often, an individual will require consultation from a specialized psychiatrist. 

Otolaryngologists – These are medical professionals specializing in issues related to the ear, nose, and throat. Loud, frequent snoring and sore throat are common symptoms that people with sleep apnea experience. These symptoms can negatively impact the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Can You Get Disability For Sleep Apnea?

The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have a listing for sleep apnea. However, they do have listings for breathing disorders, mental deficits, and heart problems. If the applicant satisfies the criteria of any of these listings, then they will qualify for benefits for sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea is not listed in the SSA’s Blue Book Listing of Impairments, so having a diagnosis will not allow you to get the benefits automatically. The applicable disability listing for this ailment falls under breathing disorders, mental health issues, and cardiac problems. People also suffer from severe behavioral problems, cognitive deficits, mood disturbances, heart failure, chronic pulmonary hypertension, and other cardiac issues.

You can apply for sleep apnea disability benefits. The Social Security Administration (SSA) will conduct a thorough review of your medical history before approving your application. 

For a successful disability claim for chronic pulmonary hypertension, refer to listing 3.09. For mental disorders like depression, anxiety, intellectual difficulties, and memory issues related to disability benefits, you can refer to 12.02.

An applicant must show relevant medical documentation to the SSA from a qualified healthcare professional. This documentation will help to prove the nature of your condition. 

The SSA will review documentation from when you started facing initial symptoms to when prolonged sleep apnea issues caused Short Term Disability or chronic disability. Prescriptions, diagnostic reports, hospital admission details, medications used, and other treatment procedures will also be taken into consideration.

What If Sleep Apnea Prevents You From Working?

Sleep apnea is a fairly common condition, but there is no disability listed for the disease in the Blue Book. Therefore, you will have to prove that your medical condition is disabling because you are no longer able to perform substantial gainful activity (SGA).

Want To File A Sleep Apnea Disability Claim? Contact A Disability Law Firm

Consult an experienced Attorney for Social Security Disability to assist you with applying for benefits, retrieving required documentation, and handling other necessary tasks. 

They will assist you throughout the process so that you do not have to face a denial. This way, you can concentrate on your health while your legal professionals do everything necessary to help you get disability for sleep apnea.

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