electrical power engineer here;
Apparent Power is a complex number, it has real and imaginary parts. The symbol for Apparent Power is S. The units for Apparent Power is VA.
S=V*I, where V and I are complex numbers which have real and imaginary components.
The symbol for reactive power is Q. the units for reactive power is VAR.
Q=IV sin theta, where theta is the angle between the vectors for I and V.
The symbol for real power is P. the units for real power is Watts (W).
P=IV cos theta
Nobody should be OK using VA and VAR interchangeably, they are not the same thing. only the same thing in one specific case where theta = 90 degrees are S and Q equal.
I have also had issues with mango changing the units on me when dealing with real, reactive, and apparent power, which is often the case in any electrical power application.