Social Security Disability and Hypoglycemia
Hypoglycemia is a condition that occurs when an individual has extremely low blood sugar. A diabetic may suffer from hypoglycemia on occasion, if that individual takes insulin or other drugs that drop their blood sugar to very low levels. It is also possible for non-diabetics to suffer from hypoglycemia as well. A hypoglycemic incident can usually be resolved by increasing the individual's blood sugar level. But frequent episodes can lead to difficulty with job performance and the need for Social Security Disability.
If an individual is suffering from low blood sugar, they may be confused, exhibit abnormal behavior, or have difficulty completing routine tasks. The individual may also suffer from double or blurred vision as well. If the blood sugar level drops too low, the individual may suffer seizures or even lose consciousness. Other symptoms include “heart palpitations, shakiness, anxiety, sweating, hunger, or a tingling sensation around the mouth.”
Hypoglycemia affects diabetics when they have too much insulin in their blood. For individuals who do not have diabetes, hypoglycemia may be caused by medications, excessive alcohol consumption, liver or kidney illnesses, a pancreatic tumor that causes an overproduction of insulin, or an endocrine deficiency.
Doctors use three criteria, referred to as Whipple's triad, to diagnose hypoglycemia. The first criteria are observing the symptoms of hypoglycemia such as shakiness and sweating. The second criteria is to run a blood test to analyze the blood glucose level. The third criteria is to observe if the symptoms decrease and stop when the individual's blood glucose level goes up.
The first thing to do when an individual is struck by a hypoglycemic episode is to raise that person's blood sugar level by having them “eat a piece of candy, [drink] fruit juice or [take] glucose tablets.” If the individual has lost consciousness, then it may be necessary to give glucose by shot or IV. Once the individual's blood sugar level is raised and leveled, then the doctor will review what set off the hypoglycemic episode to try to treat the underlying condition. If the hypoglycemia is caused by a medication, then the doctor may change the dosage or the actual medication. If the hypoglycemia is caused by a tumor, then surgical removal of the tumor is recommended.
Social Security Disability
The Social Security Administration lists hypoglycemia as an endocrine disorder, but any assessment is evaluated depending on the symptoms. If an individual suffers from hypoglycemic seizures or loss of consciousness, then the individual is evaluated under neurological disorders for conditions which are episodic in nature considering the “frequency and duration of exacerbations, length of remissions, and permanent residuals.” If the individual suffers from altered mental status and/or cognitive deficits, then those symptoms are evaluated under mental disorders. Mental disorder evaluation requires “documentation of a medically determinable impairment(s), consideration of the degree of limitation such impairment(s) may impose on the individual's ability to work, and consideration of whether these limitations have lasted or are expected to last for a continuous period of at least 12 months.” 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.