As many of you know our group, the Altoona Lung Specialists, has been helping the local Veterans Administration Hospital with their pulmonary patients for many years. We run two clinics per week and the large majority of patients have COPD. Due to the recent military confl icts in the world we seen many younger patients diagnosed with PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). This problem places an additional burden on the patient and their families. The presence of OSA (obstructive sleep apnea) only adds to the symptoms associated with PTSD. Studies have shown a high incidence of sleep apnea in the PTSD population.

Symptoms of excessive sleepiness during the day, along with increased fatigue, signifi cantly impair the quality of life for PTSD patients whether they remain in the military or return to civilian life. Both PTSD and OSA are associated with poor sleep quality, fatigue, and a decreased sense of well-being. Unfortunately, compliance with the usual treatment of CPAP is poor and even when patients with PTSD and OSA use their CPAP it is diffi cult to tell which component of their condition is improving since the symptoms overlap. We have yet to develop the necessary diagnostic tools needed to determine how effective therapy is being for each condition when both exist. What is important is that researchers and the VA continue their efforts to assist our veterans with this problem. Simply thanking our military for their service is not enough. We need to remain devoted to improving their quality of life.