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By Diana Wade
Disability Advocate 

Can Addison's disease qualify for social security disability?

Ask the Advocate

 

In humans, the adrenal glands sit right at the top of the kidneys. The main function of these glands is to produce a number of hormones that regulate a multitude of body functions.

Addison's disease is the result of too little cortisol and often too little aldosterone. The symptoms may include darkening of the skin, weight loss, muscle fatigue, loss of appetite, low blood pressure, depression, nausea, diarrhea, and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Addison's disease can also occur suddenly, and is then called acute adrenal failure or addisonian crisis. The prominent symptom of addisonian crisis is pain in the abdomen, lower back and/or legs with dehydration from vomiting and diarrhea, low blood pressure and fainting, and possibly severity of other Addison's disease symptoms. Addisonian crisis can be fatal and requires immediate hospitalization for intravenous treatment with hydrocortisone, saline and sugar. 

Addison's disease can be treated through taking daily hormone replacements orally to correct the deficiencies, in doses based on each individual's needs. Dosage changes are likely needed when the body faces stress, including viruses and infections. Taking the correct dosage will help keep symptoms in check. 

Diagnosis comes after a variety of tests including blood testing for levels of indicators such as sodium, cortisol levels and testing, blood sugar testing, and CT and MRI imaging scans of the adrenal and pituitary glands. 

Addison's disease is considered under the disability listing for endocrine disorders because it is a type of adrenal gland disorder. The listing for endocrine disorders is a bit different than other disability listings that include specific impairment requirements to qualify for disability. Instead, the endocrine disorder listing refers to disability listings for other major body systems that are affected by the disorders.

It is very important that you tell your doctors about all the symptoms and disabilities you are experiencing and make sure your medical records include a diagnosis, prognosis, and complete description of your limitations that result from Addison's disease, including physical, neurological, cognitive, and psychological impairments. Your medical records will be the primary source of information used in your case, and if you fail to mention any symptoms, limitations, or disabilities to your doctor, or if the doctor neglects to record them, they won't be included. You should make sure your doctor records everything you tell him/her.

Many people suffer from multiple symptoms that make it impossible to work. SSA will determine if the combination of impairments is sufficiently disabling to keep you from returning to work.

An Accredited Disability Representative with more than 20 years experience, Diana Wade believes her clientele can be comfortable knowing that she is recognized by SSA and a charter member of NADR. To contact Ms. Wade call (661) 821-0494, email dianapwade@att.net or visit CaliforniaDisability.net.

 
 

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