If you have sleep apnea and were present in the New York City Exposure Zone in the months following September 11th, 2001, you may be eligible for substantial compensation through a federal program called the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF). The VCF provides compensation for pain and suffering, out of pocket medical expenses, loss of earnings, for 9/11-related sleep apnea. If you believe you may have a 9/11 sleep apnea claim, contact Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP today.
In addition to cancers and respiratory diseases, many first responders, and those who lived, worked, and studied in the Exposure Zone on and after 9/11 were exposed to toxic air. Dangerous levels of asbestos, lead, chromium, benzene, and PCBs remained in the air and in the ventilation systems of schools and office buildings for months. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people who were exposed have developed debilitating health problems, including sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
A condition that can negatively impact a person’s sleep and overall health. Studies show that individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are significantly more likely to also develop type 2 diabetes, strokes, or heart attacks.
There are three primary forms of sleep apnea—obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when the muscles of the throat relax; central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain fails to send important signals to the muscles responsible for breathing control; and complex sleep apnea syndrome, which is the combination of both.
Symptoms of 9/11 Sleep Apnea
Although loud snoring is one of the most common reasons people seek treatment for sleep apnea, some people with sleep apnea may not snore. The most common symptoms include:
- Periodically stopping breathing during sleep
- Gasping for air
- Frequently waking with a dry mouth
- Frequent headaches in the morning
- Daytime sleepiness
A person who suffers from sleep apnea may stop breathing up to 30 times an hour, and these pauses can last up to a minute or more. Sleep apnea can dramatically impact your ability to get a good night’s sleep, and it can lead to additional long-term health problems and even death.
How is Sleep Apnea Diagnosed and Treated?
Most sleep apnea goes undiagnosed. The first indicator is usually the victim’s spouse or partner, who will notice that they stop breathing for periods of time during the night. Because there is no routine test that can detect sleep apnea, diagnosis is usually done at a sleep study center, where the patient is subject to a sleep study overnight.
If it is determined that you have sleep apnea, treatment options include:
- Lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, losing weight, and getting more exercise;
- Taking medication for nasal allergies;
- Use of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, a device that the patient wears while sleeping;
- Oral appliances that move the jaw forward, or open the throat;
- Treatment for underlying medical issues that may be contributing to the sleep apnea;
- Supplemental oxygen; and
- Surgery, usually only if all other treatments have failed.
9/11 and Sleep Apnea Development
According to studies of people who were exposed to the toxic dust that permeated Ground Zero, the Pentagon, and the crash site in Shanksville, PA, 62 percent are suffering from sleep apnea. As such, the WTCHP has certified sleep apnea as an eligible illness for VCF compensation, and some of the largest financial payouts have been awarded from 9/11 sleep apnea claims.
Call Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP
If you are interested in consulting about a 9/11 sleep apnea claim, the skilled legal team at Weisfuse & Weisfuse, LLP is available at 212-983-3000.