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Sleep Apnea and Diabetes in Veterans Disability

Sleep Apnea and Diabetes in Veterans Disability

Veterans often face a myriad of health challenges, and one prevalent concern is the relationship between type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Let’s review the intricate connection between sleep apnea and diabetes in veterans disability and explore the medical avenues to be considered when in pursuit of service connection and disability benefits.

Understanding Type 2 Diabetes in Veterans

Type 2 diabetes, commonly known as adult-onset diabetes, has become increasingly prevalent in the veteran population. Service connection for this condition can occur through direct diagnosis during service, as a secondary disability linked to other service-connected conditions, or even due to exposure to things like Agent Orange, as it is considered a presumptive condition. Beyond its initial recognition, type 2 diabetes can lead to various secondary service-connected disabilities such as diabetic eye changes, erectile dysfunction, peripheral neuropathy, and chronic kidney disease.

It’s crucial to acknowledge that diabetes is not only a condition with immediate implications but can also manifest complications later in life. Veterans are encouraged to work with accredited claims agents, Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs), or attorneys to establish service connection if they believe their diabetes is related to their military service.

Service Connection Ratings for Diabetes

From a disability ratings perspective, veterans can receive ratings ranging from 10% to 100% for diabetes, depending on factors like medication management frequency, type of medications (insulin or oral), activity modifications, and hospitalizations. Understanding these rating criteria can be challenging and following up with an accredited legal professional can prove essential for veterans navigating the complexities of the disability claims process.

The Intersection of Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes

Now, let’s explore the intriguing overlap between obstructive sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. Some argue there’s a complex relationship, potentially aggravating or causing each other. However, our focus here is on how obstructive sleep apnea may contribute to or cause type 2 diabetes.

Research Findings: OSA and Type 2 Diabetes

Several research articles shed light on the connection between obstructive sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. One notable publication titled “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes: Interacting Epidemics” (Chest, 2008) emphasizes that OSA is independently associated with alterations in glucose metabolism, increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The article suggests that the rising epidemics of obesity, OSA, and type 2 diabetes likely involve multiple pathways.

Another study published in the Journal of Diabetes Investigations in 2018 reveals that OSA patients are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, while over half of type 2 diabetes patients suffer from OSA. Moreover, snoring is associated with diabetes development, and excess daytime sleepiness appears to modify insulin resistance, highlighting the intricate connection between sleep impairments and insulin response.

Additionally, an article from 2016 by the American Diabetes Association titled “Sleep Apnea and Type 2 Diabetes” discusses how obstructive sleep apnea alters glucose metabolism, promotes insulin resistance, and is associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. The article summarizes that OSA, through various mechanisms like sympathetic activation, oxidative stress, inflammation, and neuroendocrine dysregulation, can disrupt glucose homeostasis in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Utilizing Research in Pursuit of Service Connection

Armed with this knowledge, veterans can empower themselves in their pursuit of service connection for both type 2 diabetes and obstructive sleep apnea. By referencing these research articles, veterans can engage with their treating providers to obtain relevant medical opinions supported by scientific evidence.

While the research points to a significant connection between OSA and type 2 diabetes, it’s essential to consider other risk factors such as obesity. Veterans must carefully weigh the impact of each factor and assess whether OSA is the primary contributor or one of several risk factors. Demonstrating a nexus between obstructive sleep apnea and service-connected disabilities requires a comprehensive understanding of the individual’s health profile.

Conclusion

The intersection of sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes presents a multifaceted landscape for veterans navigating the disability claims process. By staying informed about the research findings and understanding the intricate relationship between these conditions, veterans can better advocate for themselves when seeking service connection. Collaboration with accredited claims agents, VSOs, or attorneys remains crucial in building a strong case supported by both medical and scientific evidence. As veterans tackle the complexities of disability claims, a comprehensive approach that considers all relevant factors will contribute to a more thorough and accurate assessment of their service-connected disabilities.

Also read: What to Expect in an Erectile Dysfunction C&P Exam

At Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting, a veteran-owned company, we specialize in Independent Medical Opinions (IMOs) known as Nexus letters.

Our purpose is to empower YOU, the veteran, to take charge of your medical evidence and provide you with valuable educational tools and research to guide you on your journey.

Understanding the unique challenges veterans face, our commitment lies in delivering exceptional service and support.

Leveraging an extensive network of licensed independent medical professionals, all well-versed in the medical professional aspects of the VA claims process, we review the necessary medical evidence to incorporate in our reports related to your VA Disability Claim.

Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting is not a law firm, accredited claims agent, or affiliated with the Veterans Administration or Veterans Services Organizations. However, we are happy to discuss your case with your accredited VA legal professional.

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Danielle McClaskey

Client Relations Specialist U.S. Navy Veteran

In her active-duty service in the United States Navy, Danielle undertook a variety of responsibilities, ranging from essential administrative duties to providing crucial medical care. Her multifaceted contributions played a pivotal role in enhancing her fellow service members’ operational effectiveness and well-being.

As a disabled veteran, she developed a profound understanding of the unique challenges faced by her fellow service members. Now, in her civilian role, Danielle is a valued member of the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team, where she continues to leverage her extensive background and educational achievements to provide exceptional support to veterans.

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LETICIA

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

Leticia has been in the medical field for nearly 14 years. She has always had a passion for medicine and caring for her community. Leticia has spent the last 4 years caring for veterans and first responders with alcohol and substance abuse in a medical rehabilitation setting whilst continuing her education working towards a degree in software development.

Someday she hopes to develop medical software that further enhances the patient’s experience in medical care. Leticia has a deep respect and love for those who have served as she comes from a family of law enforcement and military veterans.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Julie Pereira

JULIE PEREIRA:

ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT

During her Active-Duty time in the US Navy as a Hospital Corpsman, Julie provided medical administration
and patient care services in the field, the hospital, and base medical office settings.  This military medical and
administrative background has given Julie the hands-on experience and extensive knowledge necessary to
provide unparalleled service to her fellow Veterans through the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Julie’s educational achievements include a Bachelor of Arts with a minor in Human Services and a pre-nursing associate in arts and science.

Julie has been inspired by her firsthand knowledge of navigating the VA Benefits process. She has dedicated
most of her adult life to serving Veterans through her knowledge derived from her military and civilian medical
education and training.

Jennifer Januta

JENNIFER JANUTA

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

During her Active-Duty service in the Army, Jennifer supported various research efforts centered on combat casualty care and Soldier performance. Her military background gave her unique insights into veterans’ distinct challenges, ultimately inspiring her to join the Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting team.

Jennifer’s educational achievements include a master’s in molecular biology from George Washington University and a master’s in data science from Texas Tech University. Jennifer wholeheartedly dedicates herself to utilizing her knowledge and expertise gained from 15 years of healthcare experience to impact the well-being of those who have served positively.

Alan Bucholz

ALAN BUCHOLZ, PA-C:

U.S ARMY VETERAN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER

Alan enlisted in the US Army as a combat medic, where he deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Influenced by his time as a combat medic, he attended the Interservice Physician Assistant program while on
active duty, was commissioned as an officer, and subsequently deployed to Afghanistan.  

Alan’s military and medical background inspired him to form Prestige Veteran Medical Consulting with his
wife, Leah Bucholz, a Physician Assistant and Army Combat Veteran.  He has devoted himself to using his
knowledge gained in the military as a medical professional to serve the Veteran community.

Leah - Meet the Team

LEAH BUCHOLZ, PA-C

U.S ARMY VETERAN, MEDICAL EXPERT & FORMER C & P EXAMINER

Meet Leah, the founder, and leader of our organization. ​​A combat veteran herself, she understands the unique challenges veterans face, making her mission about much more than running a successful business. It’s about the opportunity to provide a legacy of exceptional service for our heroes.​

​“It is essential to remember that there is no greater honor than caring for service members on the battlefield. Continuing to care for Veterans after separation is an opportunity that I have been afforded to extend that care in this new battlefield related to service-incurred disabilities.”

Her inspiration comes from years of military experience working alongside her fellow servicemembers, particularly key leaders who have influenced her journey, applying their wisdom to her path. She values her team deeply, most of whom are also disabled combat veterans, each member a trusted individual sharing her vision.

 “Driven by passion and purpose, I aim to create a sustainable change that empowers veterans and future generations.”

Leah’s journey hasn’t been without challenges. From overcoming and living with her service-related disabilities to navigating work-life balance, she’s learned to face each hurdle head-on with resilience.  Like many of her veteran brothers and sisters, her early background consisted of limited resources and opportunities. Her military service has helped shape her into a steadfast leader, offering relatable inspiration to others.

Join us in celebrating Leah, a compassionate leader, and resilient veteran, driving our mission to serve those who served our nation.