Ichthyosis – Condition and Symptoms
Ichthyosis is a group of 28 or more related skin conditions with genetic causes. While there are substantial differences between the conditions, all forms of ichthyosis have some symptoms in common, including:
- Dry skin
- Thickened skin
- Scaly skin
- Flaky skin
Often, those with ichthyosis have cracked skin that looks like fish scales. This symptom gives the disease its name, which is derived from the Greek word for fish, “ichthys.”
The extent and severity of symptoms can vary widely among different people with different types of ichthyosis. In its mildest forms, it is often mistaken for dry but otherwise normal skin. In its most severe forms, it can be life threatening. Over ninety-five percent of ichthyosis cases are of the mildest form, known as ichthyosis vulgaris.
Even though the condition is genetic (i.e., it is inherited from your parents), the type and severity of symptoms showing will vary from one sufferer to the next, even when the condition is caused by the exact same genetic disorder. The condition is often difficult to diagnose or categorize, and often symptoms of two or more types of ichthyosis will be present on the same person.
Diagnosis is primarily made by observing the skin. Family history is also considered when diagnosing ichthyosis. Generally, a skin biopsy is also performed to confirm that the skin disorder is, indeed, ichthyosis. Genetic testing is often conducted as well.
Because the causes of ichthyosis are genetic, there are no preventative measures that can be taken to help keep yourself from contracting ichthyosis. Treatments vary considerably depending on the circumstances and symptoms being dealt with. There is no actual cure, but treatments include: emollient oils, topical creams, and retinoids. Depending on the type of ichthyosis, sunlight may either aggravate or improve symptoms.
Depending on the location of the skin affected and the severity of the symptoms, ichthyosis can be anything from a mild nuisance to a disabling condition that makes it difficult to walk or perform gross or fine motor functions.
Filing for Social Security Disability with an Ichthyosis Diagnosis
Ichthyosis, like other skin conditions, is listed under Section 8.00 Skin – Adult in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book. It is mentioned specifically in Section 8.02. Most of the information needed for applying for Social Security Disability Insurance or Supplemental Security Income with ichthyosis can be found in the general information on skin disorders. The specific information about ichthyosis adds only that your condition must include skin lesions that have persisted for no less than three months while you are undergoing prescribed medical treatment.
In general, there are several ways you can go about making your claim for disability benefits with ichthyosis or other skin disorders. Skin conditions can be considered disabling in and of themselves if the symptoms are severe enough and are expected to last for a year or longer, even if you have time between flare ups.
In most cases with ichthyosis and skin diseases, however, the Social Security is more inclined to consider the effect on the part of your body and to make a decision on your claim based on the affect your condition has on those body parts’ functional capacity. In general, you must have two major limbs affected, or must have lost other functioning that qualifies you for Social Security Disability benefits. Examples include but are not limited to:
- Loss of sight
- Loss of hearing
- Loss of ambulation (ability to move from one place to another)
- Loss of joint use
As with most conditions, it is very important that you remain under a doctor’s care while you are applying for disability benefits with ichthyosis. The Social Security Administration will want to see proof of your medical diagnosis including the results of lab tests and/or genetic testing. They will also want to see proof that you have been following your physician’s instructions for at least three months and that the symptoms are still debilitating despite being under medical care.
Your Ichthyosis Disability Case
It isn’t easy proving that you are disabled and can no longer perform meaningful work with a condition like ichthyosis, which is known for its flare ups and recessions. In most cases, you will need to show that your condition prevents you from holding down a long term job because the flare ups cause it to be impossible for you to work.
You will need a doctor who knows how to communicate with the Social Security Administration or, better yet, a Social Security Disability lawyer. Your disability lawyer can help make sure that your medical records are stated in a way that best shows the SSA why you are incapable of continuing with gainful employment.
It’s easy and pain free to have a disability attorney review your claim. For a free evaluation by a Social Security Disability attorney or advocate, simply fill out the request for a free evaluation above.