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Friday, August 20, 2010

Social Security Disability- Heart Disease

Heart disease is a common medical condition and Social Security adjudicators and judges see cardiac cases frequently. You can make your case stand out by reporting to your doctor about symptoms and limitations that would make it difficult for you to work. Common "work activity" limitations for heart patients include shortness of breath, chest pain, lack of blood flow to the extremities (cold or "blue" hands and feet), depression, water retention, vascular complications, headaches, fainting spells, depression, anxiety and fatigue.

Heart disease, according to the Social Security Administration, has four consequential impairments that would make a claimant eligible for disability benefits:

a. Persistent heart failure or impairment of the left or right ventricle

b. Lack of blood flow to the heart (medically known as myocardial ischemia), resulting in pain, discomfort, or possibly necrosis

c. Inadequate blood flow to the brain, stemming from a cardiac impediment, that sometimes results in syncope or near syncope

d. Lack of oxygen in the blood, causing central cyanosis, stemming from arterial or vascular deterioration or obstruction

The causes of heart disease vary by type of heart disease. While cardiovascular disease can refer to many different types of heart or blood vessel problems, the term is often used to mean damage caused to your heart or blood vessels by atherosclerosis, a buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries, blood vessels that carry oxygen and nutrients from your heart to the rest of your body.

Healthy arteries are flexible and strong. Over time, however, too much pressure in your arteries can create excessive wear and make the walls thick and stiff, therefore restricting blood flow to your organs and tissues. This process is called arteriosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries.

Atherosclerosis is the most common form of this disorder. Atherosclerosis is also the most common cause of cardiovascular disease, and it is caused by a variety of factors, including an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, being overweight and smoking. All of these are major risk factors for developing atherosclerosis and, in turn, cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease may continue to be undiagnosed until the condition worsens to the point of a heart attack, chest pain (angina), stroke, heart failure, or sudden cardiac death. It's important to watch for cardiovascular symptoms and discuss any concerns with your doctor.

Some of these symptoms include the following:

a. Chest pain (angina)

b. Shortness of breath

c. Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms, if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed

d. Cardiovascular disease can sometimes be found early with regular doctor visits.

If, in conjunction with your heart disease, you are suffering from other symptoms, side-effects, or ailments, you may be able to present these conditions in your case. Your case will be stronger if these other conditions also prove to be obstacles in attaining, and keeping, gainful employment.

As the main issue in a Social Security case has to do with job reliability, you should ask your doctor to comment about how your heart disease would impact your ability to perform specific job tasks and about how it would affect your reliability (i.e. unscheduled breaks or missed days from work). Do not forget that some medication side effects can create activity limitations. Activity limitations in general are often referred to by SSA as "exertional limitations." In addition, heart disease can result in significant chest pain (angina) as well as anxiety or depression. Pain or depression/anxiety are referred to as "non-exertional" limitations because they affect your state of mind, and ability to concentrate or focus.

Call your Michigan Social Security Disability attorneys today at 1-866-540-0677 to help you file for Social Security Disability benefits if you suffer from a physical or mental illness. If you are in Macomb County, Oakland County, Wayne County or anywhere else in Michigan and need help with your Social Security Disability case, contact our office at or

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