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Social Security Disability and Ulcerative Colitis

Posted by Louis B. Lusk | Sep 27, 2013 | 0 Comments

Social Security Disability and Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease. “Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammation of the large intestine (colon).” Individuals experience abdominal pain, frequent diarrhea, and possibly bloody stool. Symptoms “Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition and symptoms usually develop over time, rather than suddenly.” Symptoms vary depending on where within the large intestine the ulcerative colitis occurs. Common symptoms are abdominal pain, frequent diarrhea, and bloody stool. If “inflammation is confined to the area closest to the anus (rectum)” and rectal bleeding is the only sign, then this is known as ulcerative proctitis and is the mildest form of the disease.” As the area moves up the large intestine, the symptoms increase to include diarrhea, abdominal pain and weight loss. If the entire colon is affected, individuals may suffer not only severe pain and diarrhea, but also dehydration and shock. This is called fulminant colitis. “People with fulminant colitis are at risk of serious complications, including colon rupture and toxic megacolon, a condition that causes the colon to rapidly expand.” Symptoms can come and go. “The course of ulcerative colitis varies, with periods of acute illness often alternating with periods of remission. But over time, the severity of the disease usually remains the same.” Causes “The cause of ulcerative colitis is unknown. It may be caused by an abnormal response by the body's immune system to normal intestinal bacteria. Disease-causing bacteria and viruses also may play a role.” Treatment Since ulcerative colitis inflames the lining of the colon, most treatments involve the use of a combination of anti-inflammatories, including corticosteroids. There is also the use of immune system suppressors as another way to reduce inflammation. To deal with some of the daily symptoms, doctors prescribe pain relievers, anti-diarrhea medicine, and antibiotics. In addition to medications, individuals need to change their diets and lower their stress. While dietary changes will not cure ulcerative colitis, it can “help control symptoms and lengthen the time between flare-ups.” In severe cases, surgery may be needed. Such surgery usually removed the entire colon and rectum. Historically individuals would require an ileal stoma bag to collect stool, but there is now “a procedure called ileoanal anastomosis eliminates the need to wear a bag.” Social Security Disability To qualify for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits due to an inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis, medical documentation must include results of an endoscopy, biopsy, medical imaging, and/or surgical findings. These findings must show that an individual had an obstruction in the small intestine or colon that required “hospitalization for intestinal decompression or for surgery, and occurred on at least two occasions at least 60 days apart within a consecutive 6-month period.” Alternately, if an individual has not required surgery, they can still qualify for SSD if they suffer from anemia, low serum albumin, a palpable abdominal mass with pain that is not controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, perineal disease with a draining abscess with pain that is not controlled by prescribed narcotic medication, involuntary weight loss of at least 10 percent of the individual's starting weight, or the need for daily nutrition via a gastrostomy (a surgical opening into the stomach) or a central venous catheter. The individual must show at least two of these conditions that were evaluated 60 days apart within a six-month period where the prescribed treatment is not controlling the condition. If you are considering applying for disability benefits, you should contact our experienced attorney to assist you. Related Posts: Parkinson's Disease Can Lead to the Need for Social Security Disability Social Security Disability and Marfan Syndrome Possible Changes Coming to SSD Hearing Loss Evaluations

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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