Recover Social Security Benefits with Our Baltimore Cystic Fibrosis Disability Lawyer
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder that causes damage to the lungs and other organs and limits the sufferer’s ability to breathe over time. As a progressive disease, its symptoms become more severe over time and require extensive care. While most individuals with cystic fibrosis can attend school and work, once it progresses beyond a certain level, they may no longer be able to do so. Individuals who are unable to work because they suffer cystic fibrosis may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits, as our Baltimore cystic fibrosis attorney explains in more detail below.
What Causes Cystic Fibrosis?
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disorder caused by a mutation to the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) gene. This gene regulates the movement of salt in and out of cells. For most people, secreted fluids such as mucus, sweat, and digestive fluids are thin and slippery, but they become sticky and thick in people with cystic fibrosis. These thick, sticky fluids can cause damage to the body’s respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. There is no known cure for cystic fibrosis, but there are a variety of treatments that can alleviate its symptoms.
What are the Symptoms of Cystic Fibrosis?
Symptoms of cystic fibrosis generally begin to appear early in life, either at the newborn stage or early childhood. Because cystic fibrosis sufferers have higher than normal salt levels in their sweat, a tell-tale sign for parents is when they taste salt on their children’s skin when kissing them. Other symptoms can be roughly split into the categories of respiratory symptoms and digestive symptoms.
Respiratory symptoms of cystic fibrosis include:
- A persistent, mucus-producing cough
- Trouble breathing
- Inability to exercise
- Lung infections (e.g., pneumonia and bronchitis)
- Inflamed nasal passages
- Recurrent sinusitis
- Slow growth
Digestive symptoms of the disorder include:
- Failure to thrive (i.e., the inability of children to gain weight due to the intestines being unable to absorb nutrients from food)
- Foul-smelling, greasy stools, and difficulty with bowel movements
- Intestinal blockages
- Chronic or severe constipation
Cystic fibrosis can result in numerous complications. Some of the most common complications include damaged airways, chronic infections, coughing up blood, nasal polyps, respiratory failure, nutritional deficiencies, diabetes, liver disease, intestinal obstruction, infertility in men, reduced fertility in women, and osteoporosis.
Is Cystic Fibrosis Covered by Social Security Disability?
Yes, cystic fibrosis is a covered condition under the Social Security disability program. Individuals who suffer from cystic fibrosis may qualify for Social Security disability benefits if they meet the following criteria:
- A certain FEV1 value based on the individual’s age, gender, and height
- Exacerbations or complications requiring three hospitalizations of any length within a 12-month period and at least 30 days apart
- Spontaneous pneumothorax, secondary to cystic fibrosis, requiring chest tube placement
- Respiratory failure requiring invasive mechanical ventilation, noninvasive ventilation with BiPAP, or a combination of both treatments, for a continuous period of at least 48 hours, or a continuous period of at least 72 hours if postoperatively
- Pulmonary hemorrhage requiring vascular embolization to control bleeding
- A certain SpO2 measured by pulse oximetry
- Two of the following exacerbations or complications within a 12-month period
- Pulmonary exacerbation requires 10 consecutive days of intravenous antibiotic treatment
- Pulmonary hemorrhage requiring hospitalization of any length
- Weight loss requires daily supplemental enteral nutrition via a gastrostomy for at least 90 consecutive days or parenteral nutrition via a central venous catheter for at least 90 consecutive days
- CFRD requires daily insulin therapy for at least 90 consecutive days
Contact a Baltimore Cystic Fibrosis Disability Attorney for More Information
If you are unable to work due to cystic fibrosis, you may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. For more information or to discuss your case, please contact Baltimore SSD attorney Emmett B. Irwin by calling 443-839-0818 or using our online contact form.