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Get Your Snores Checked! Untreated Sleep Apnea can cause Cor Pulmonale


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4/27/2013
John L. Keefe
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Eighteen million Americans suffer from sleep-related breathing disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea which cause interruptions in breathing during sleep. About half of these victims are undiagnosed. The main symptoms of sleep apnea are loud snoring and daytime sleepiness.

You may know that you snore, and you may think that it is normal and no big deal. Occasional snoring is nothing to worry about, but if your family complains that you snore regularly and compares your snores to a rumbling mac truck, then it might be a good idea to talk to a doctor.

Sleep apnea is a big deal.  It doesn’t just leave you tired, it can also cause changes in your brain and body. The most serious side effect of sleep apnea is cor pulmonale

The breathing interruptions of sleep apnea can cause a drop in blood oxygen levels. Over time, this can cause high blood pressure in the pulmonary veins. The puts pressure on the right side of the heart, which pumps harder to compensate. This strain can lead to a type of heart failure known as cor pulmonale.

Symptoms of cor pulmonale include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Weakness
  • Chest pain
  • Headaches
  • Swelling of the belly, legs, and feet

Cor pulmonale is a serious heart condition. It cannot be cured, even with treatment. However, treatment may increase your energy levels and ease symptoms.

Sleep apnea with cor pulmonale can make it very difficult to hold a job. The patient is often very tired and has difficulty with any level of physical exercise. When work is not a possibility, Social Security disability benefits can help.

To receive SSDI for sleep apnea with cor pulmonale, you must provide evidence of sleep apnea and one of the following: 

  • High blood pressure in the pulmonary artery; above 40 mm HG, or
  • Blood oxygen levels that are as low as or lower than the values in the SSA's disability listing for chronic pulmonary insufficiency, or
  • Chronic heart failure

Learn more about applying for SSDI for sleep apnea in Boston disability benefit attorney John Keefe’s book, 7 Costly Mistakes That Can Ruin Your Social Security Disability Claim, or schedule a free consultation with the Massachusetts SSDI lawyers at Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.



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