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9/11 Sleep Apnea

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Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that is common in people that were exposed to the 9/11 toxins. Turley Hansen represents many clients with sleep apnea in claims before the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.

A person with sleep apnea has one or more pauses in breathing or shallow breaths that can last from as short as a just a few seconds to as long as over a minute, sometimes happening as much as 30 times or more per hour. Normal breathing starts again on its own, but with a loud snorting, choking, or gasping sound. Sleep apnea is a chronic long-term condition that disrupts sleep, with people who suffer from the condition getting a poor night’s sleep, and is a leading cause of daytime sleepiness.

Most people with sleep apnea don’t even know that they have it, since the symptoms occur during sleep. Often times a spouse or partner will notice the signs of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea cannot be detected by a routine doctor’s office visit or a blood test, but is diagnosed by a sleep study conducted at a sleep disorder center or clinic during an overnight visit.

Obstructive sleep apnea is the most common form of the condition. With obstructive sleep apnea, the person’s airway collapses or becomes blocked when the muscles in the back of the throat relax and the airway narrows, resulting in the inability to get a full or adequate breath. In addition to daytime fatigue, sleep apnea can cause other complications such as high blood pressure and heart problems, including the risk of a heart attack, irregular heartbeat, and stroke. One of the most effective treatments for sleep apnea is the use of a nighttime CPAP machine.

Medical studies of people exposed to the 9/11 dust, debris, and fumes showed that those who snored and were diagnosed and treated for a respiratory disease or acid reflux, more than 62% had obstructive sleep apnea. The World Trade Center Health Program and the Sept. 11th Victim Compensation Find 9/11 both recognize that sleep apnea and these programs provide for free medical care and compensation for sufferers. In particular, the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund often makes some its largest non-cancer awards to claimants suffering from sleep apnea.

Should you have questions about medical care or an award for obstructive sleep apnea from the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, please call us at 1-855-982-4636. Learn more about sleep apnea from the Mayo Clinic here.