Sleep Apnea and Disability

Sleep apnea is a chronic sleep disorder in which breathing is interrupted throughout the night. With sleep apnea, sleep is disrupted three or more nights each week and makes the person who suffers from it sleepy during the day even after a full night’s rest. This is because of pauses in breathing that occur frequently during the night, often lasting for a minute or longer. These pauses move a person from deep sleep into light sleep and typically cause choking once normal breathing resumes. This all makes sleep apnea one of the leading causes of daytime sleepiness.

Three different types of sleep apnea exist:

  • First, and also the most common, is obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by a relaxation of throat muscles.
  • Second, central sleep apnea occurs when the brain doesn’t send the commands to the muscles that control breathing.
  • Third is complex sleep apnea, which is a combination of the first two and a very serious condition. The condition can happen to anyone at any age, but is most likely to occur in males over the age of 40.

Other risk factors include a family history of sleep apnea, obesity, high blood pressure, a narrow airway, smoking or the use of alcohol, sedatives or tranquilizers.

Some of the usual effects of sleep apnea include loud snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, trouble staying asleep at night, sudden awakenings during sleep along with shortness of breath, waking up with a sore throat and dry mouth, morning headache and noticeable pauses in breathing during sleep.

If you or a loved one has sleep apnea, it may have caused enough complications that maintaining steady employment has become difficult or impossible. If so, than you have a disability and may be eligible for Long Term Disability insurance benefits and/or Social Security disability benefits. These provide a form of income replacement for lost wages due to the inability to work. Call experienced disability lawyer Nick Ortiz at 850-308-7833 for more information about how to file a potential claim or appeal a denial letter.