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Aplastic Anemia Can Lead to Disability

Posted by Louis B. Lusk | Nov 30, 2013 | 0 Comments

Aplastic Anemia Can Lead to Disability

Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Red blood cells are produced by bone marrow. When the body has difficulty or stops producing red blood cells, an individual has aplastic anemia. Aplastic anemia reduces oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood and impacts the individual's life processes. Symptoms When an individual has aplastic anemia, there are a number of symptoms that doctors look for:

  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate
  • Pale skin
  • Frequent or prolonged infections
  • Nosebleeds and bleeding gums
  • Skin rash
  • Dizziness
  • Headache

Information from the Mayo ClinicAplastic anemia can progress slowly over weeks or months, or it may come on suddenly. The illness may be brief, or it may become chronic. Aplastic anemia can be very severe and even fatal.” Diagnosis To determine if a person has aplastic anemia, a doctor will order blood tests to determine the levels of not only red blood cells, but white blood cells and platelets as well. If the levels are low, then a bone marrow biopsy will be ordered to determine if the individual has aplastic anemia or an other blood-related disease. Causes Once an individual is diagnosed with aplastic anemia, determining the cause can help with treatment. If an individual has radiation or chemotherapy, those treatments may cause aplastic anemia as a side effect. Sometimes exposure to toxic chemicals in pesticides, insecticides or gasoline can cause aplastic anemia. Avoiding future exposure to these chemicals can reverse the condition. In addition to these causes, there are some rheumatoid arthritis drugs, autoimmune disorders, and viral infections that can cause aplastic anemia as well. Treatments The severity of an individual's aplastic anemia will dictate the level of treatment. Commonly, doctors use blood transfusions to alleviate anemia symptoms and control bleeding problems. Over time, individuals can develop problems due to transfusions such as iron accumulation or antibody development that attack transfused blood cells. If an individual has severe aplastic anemia, a bone marrow transplant may be the only treatment option available. “If a donor is found, the diseased bone marrow is first depleted with radiation or chemotherapy. Healthy stem cells from the donor marrow are filtered from the blood and injected into the individual's bloodstream, where they migrate to the bone marrow cavities and begin generating new blood cells.” The risk with transplants are that the recipient's body rejects the donor cells. If an individual is not a candidate for a bone marrow transplant may be treated with drugs that alter or suppress the immune system if the individual suffers from an autoimmune disorder. In addition to the immunosuppressants, individuals may be given bone marrow stimulants to “help stimulate the bone marrow to produce new blood cells.” SSD Requirements The Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates all types of anemia by reviewing the individual's oxygen-carrying capacity and how the individual tolerates such a reduction. It is also necessary to determine if the condition is chronic by reviewing laboratory findings over a 3-month period with more than one examination. With aplastic anemia, Social Security Disability benefits are limited to those individuals who have received a bone marrow transplant. The individual is considered disabled for 12 months following a transplant. After the 12-month period, the individual is evaluated to determine what, if any, impairment remains. If you suffer from aplastic anemia and are applying for Social Security Disability benefits, contact our knowledgeable attorney to assist you with the process.

About the Author

Louis B. Lusk

About Louis B. Lusk – Disability Attorney Attorney Louis B. Lusk has helped thousands of disabled individuals recover Social Security disability and SSI disability benefits.  He is an active member of the National Organization of Social Security Claimant's Representatives (NOSSCR), an organizat...

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