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Young veterans suffering from PTSD may also have sleep apnea

Those who have served our country may have a lot more to deal with upon returning home. Veterans of all ages should ensure they get the best possible veterans benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs, as early treatment of any disease or illness is essential. A recent study showed that problems can compound as well, as young U.S veterans with post traumatic stress disorder have a higher chance of suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.

Medical Xpress reported on a recent study of nearly 200 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who visited a PTSD clinic; 69.2 percent of these participants were at high risk for sleep apnea, a risk that increased with the severity of PTSD symptoms.

Co-principal investigator for the study Sonya Norman, a researcher at the San Diego VA, director of the PTSD Consultation Program at the National Center for PTSD, said younger veterans need to be screened for obstructive sleep apnea, especially those already suffering from PTSD.

“This is critical information because sleep apnea is a risk factor for a long list of health problems such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, and psychological problems including depression, worsening PTSD and anxiety,” Normal said.

The Mayo Clinic said obstructed sleep apnea can cause cardiovascular problems, loss of sleep and eye problems, among other issues. Those who suffer should seek treatment as soon as possible to try and fight the ailment early.

It behooves veterans to take advantage of their VA medical benefits to obtain the treatment they require. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates can help make sure veterans get the full amount of benefits they deserve.

Social Security finances may be worse than believed

There have been plenty of money issues at the Social Security Administration over the past decade, but it may actually be worse than the agency is letting on, according to new studies.

A report from two Harvard and one Dartmouth academic printed in the Journal of Economic Perspectives found that the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Chief Actuary has underestimated retirees’ life expectancy and made other errors to make the system look better than it actually is.

Another paper from Political Analysis, authored by political scientist and director of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science Gary King, said predictions since 2000 have been less than spot-on. This is thanks to civil servants within the agency responding to political polarization of the SSA by resisting outside pressures, including technical experts.

“While they’re insulating themselves from the politics, they also insulate themselves from the data and this big change in the world –people started living longer lives,’’ King said in the report. “They need to take that into account and change the forecast as a result of that.”

The actuary for the SSA has underestimated declines in mortality for those 65 and older, as well as overestimating the birth rate and thereby the number of new workers who will be able to pay for benefits in the next two decades. With both SSA’s retirement arm and SSA disability arm already in dire financial straits, this could end very poorly for the agency if it is not fixed quickly.

Prominent Chicago mental health organization to close this month

A blow was struck to the Chicago mental health community this month, as Community Counseling Centers of Chicago (C4) has announced it will be closing its doors on May 31. This means more than 10,000 patients, including children, will be left without means for mental healthcare.

This will likely also be extremely damaging for those applying for disability benefits via the Social Security Administration, as it is important to establish medical records before applying. Many who went to C4 will have a hard time affording doctors visits and establishing the needed records.

At a rally outside of the C4 center in Chicago, CBS Chicago said Terese Burton was in tears telling the crowd just how much she was helped by the center for the past 24 years.

“They have helped me, support me, raise my children who all had mental health needs,” Burton said. “As a client here, I’ve been able to receive meds, support and I’m an active member of society.”

The closure of C4 comes in the midst of a proposal by Gov. Bruce Rauner to slash $82 million for mental health programs. In addition, Chicago shut down six of its 12 mental health clinics in 2012, with Mayor Rahm Emanuel citing C4 as a place people could turn for their mental health needs.

It appears that a convenient way to balance government budgets is to deny the mentally ill access to treatment. Untreated disease, whether mental or physical, is not the answer to address the conditions of our state’s ills. We should not be surprised at the foreseeable results of such a lack of concern for the welfare and treatment of the mentally ill.

One of the consequences of the government’s failure to provide treatment facilities for the mentally ill is that symptoms may become worse, thereby causing homelessness and problems in the justice system.

It is important for claimants seeking Social Security disability benefits to document the severity of their illness through medical records. Lack of such records could very well result in difficulty prevailing on their claim for benefits.