Inflamed Blood Vessels Can Lead to Social Security Disability Systemic
When an individual's blood vessels become inflamed, that individual has vasculitis. “Vasculitis causes changes in the walls of your blood vessels, including thickening, weakening, narrowing and scarring. Vasculitis, which is also known as angiitis and arteritis, can be so severe that the tissues and organs supplied by the affected vessels don't get enough blood. This shortage of blood can result in organ and tissue damage, even death.”
Depending on which blood vessels are affected will dictate what symptoms are visible. General symptoms are “fever, fatigue, weight loss, muscle and joint pain, loss of appetite, and nerve problems, such as numbness or weakness.” If an individual has ulcers in their mouth, eye inflammation, and acne-like lesions, that may be a sign of Bechet's syndrome. If an individual has pain in the hands, arms, feet and legs, and ulcers on the fingers and toes, it could be Buerger's disease. This is often seen in cigarette smokers. An individual with asthma can have inflammation of the blood vessels of the lungs called Churg-Strauss syndrome. Individuals with hepatitis C may suffer from a rash on the lower extremities, arthritis, weakness and nerve damage called cryoglobulinemia. Children are susceptible to Henoch-Schonlein purpura that causes abdominal pain, blood in the urine, joint pain and a rash on the lower extremities. Even though Henoch-Schonlein purpura is mostly found in children, it can occur at any age. Children are also susceptible to Kawasaki disease that causes a fever, skin rash and eye inflammation. There are a number of other types of vasculitis in addition to the ones mentioned.
Vasculitis occurs when your immune system mistakenly sees blood vessel cells as foreign. An infection, some cancers, certain immune system disorders, or an allergic reaction may serve as the trigger.
After taking a complete medical history, a doctor may order blood tests to look for antibodies that might suggest the immune system is attacking healthy cells. Urine tests are used to look for red blood cells and increased protein levels. X-rays, ultrasound, CT scans, and MRIs are used to image larger blood vessels for inflammation. Angiograms, or x-rays of the blood vessels from the inside, use a catheter inserted into an artery or vein and inject a dye to take x-rays showing the outlines of the blood vessels. A doctor may also take a biopsy of the affected blood vessel or organ to look for signs of vasculitis.
The type of vasculitis an individual has will dictate the specific treatment options. Common medications used to treat vasculitis are steroids to control inflammation and drugs that suppress the immune response causing the inflammation.
Social Security Disability
In addition to standard medical records, the Social Security Administration (SSA) prefers biopsy results to confirm a diagnosis of systemic vasculitis, but the SSA will not authorize or pay for a biopsy. In order to qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD), an individual with vasculitis must show that two or more organs or body systems are affected by the vasculitis to a moderately severe level, and that they are suffering from at least two or more of the following symptoms: severe fatigue, fever, malaise, and/or involuntary weight loss. An individual can also qualify for SSD if they show at least two of the four previous symptoms due to repeated manifestations of systemic vasculitis that significantly limit their daily living activities, limit their social functioning, or limit the individual's ability to timely complete tasks because their concentration, persistence, or pace has been affected. SSD applications require extensive documentation on an applicant's medical condition. If you are considering applying for disability benefits, contact our experienced attorney to assist you.