Social Security Disability for Crohn's Disease
Social Security Disability for Crohn's DiseaseCrohn's disease is a chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. It can be confused with ulcerative colitis, which causes an inflammation of the colon. The difference with Crohn's is that it can be an inflammation anywhere along the digestive tract. Crohn's can cause physical problems to the point where an individual is not able to work. Symptoms Crohn's disease can begin suddenly. And the symptoms can vary over time. Symptoms include diarrhea, cramping, or abdominal pain. Inflammation can lead to loss of appetite, weight loss, and nausea. The Mayo Clinic also lists other possible symptoms being: · Fever · Fatigue · Arthritis · Eye inflammation · Mouth sores · Skin disorders · Inflammation of the liver of bile ducts · Delayed growth or sexual development in children Causes Doctors have not determined a specific cause for Crohn's disease. It was thought that diet and stress triggered Crohn's, but it has been found to be aggravating factors. Doctors are now looking at heredity or a malfunctioning immune system to be the cause. Risk Factors There are a number of risk factors other than heredity. Most people who suffer from Crohn's develop it when they are young. Most diagnoses occur in individuals who are younger than 30. The disease is more prevalent in whites, especially those with Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish ancestry increasing the risk. Cigarette smoking is also considered a risk factor. And living in an urban area or an industrialized country has also been determined a risk factor. Complications While Crohn's is mostly pain and inflammation, complications can occur. Individuals can develop bowel obstructions, ulcers and fistulas. Crohn's can also lead to “kidney stones, gallstones and, occasionally, inflammation of the bile ducts.” How is Crohn's Disease Diagnosed? While doctors may run blood tests, there is currently no definitive test for Crohn's. A colonoscopy is used to view the colon and see if there are granulomas, clusters of inflamed cells. A CT scan is useful for determining the exact location of inflamed tissue and determine if there are blockages, abscesses, or fistulas. MRIs are also used to determine inflammation along the digestive tract and diagnosing Crohn's. Another diagnostic tool is the capsule endoscopy. A patient swallows a capsule that has a camera in it. The camera takes pictures throughout the entire digestive tract that are then examined to determine where possible inflammation is. Doctors also take biopsies to give a solid diagnosis of Crohn's. How Does the Social Security Administration Review Crohn's Disease? In the Social Security Blue Book, Crohn's is listed as an inflammatory bowel disease in Section 5. The SSA states “Crohn's disease is rarely curable and recurrence may be a lifelong problem, even after surgical resection.” Medical records should include endoscopy, biopsy, appropriate medically acceptable imaging, or operative findings that show obstructions requiring hospitalization and occurring twice at least 60 days apart in a 6-month period. If there aren't obstructions requiring hospitalizations, then there is a list of items requiring continuing treatment over a 6-month period. Keep in mind that when reviewing an individual's history, it is not the fact that the individual has Crohn's Disease, but that the disease limits the individual's personal functions. If you are considering applying for disability benefits in Georgia, you should contact our experienced Social Security attorney.