More than 40% of deaths in the United States are caused from heart disease, a statistic which far outnumbers that of other dreaded diseases, including all of the forms of cancer combined.
Because of that, let's take a closer look at this this serious group of diseases to gain new understanding about their causes, symptoms, treatments, and prevention.
What is Heart Disease?
Heart disease is another term for cardiovascular disease, or diseases which affect the cardiovascular system including the heart and its network of arteries, veins and capillaries.
The term cardiovascular disease is often used for coronary artery disease, the most common form of cardiovascular disease in the United States, and the condition in which blood vessel blockages create the potential for heart attacks and other heart problems.
Cardiovascular disease also refers to other conditions such as abnormal heart beats, infections, and defects.
The causes of heart disease vary depending on the specific condition, but include atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries due to plaque from fatty foods, high blood pressure and cholesterol, as well as genetic factors such as birth defects.
Types of Symptoms
Often the symptoms of heart disease come on suddenly, in the form of a heart attack or cardiac arrest, but if detected early enough, can be treated to prevent further damage or risk of heart failure.
The most common symptoms of heart disease are chest pain, difficulty breathing, and pain, numbness, weakness, or coldness in the extremities due to insufficient blood flow.
Treatments for heart disease include diet and exercise, medications, blood thinners to prevent heart attacks and strokes, and when severe enough, surgery to remove blockages or treat defects.
Cardiovascular diseases can become severely disabling. If you or someone you know is suffering from a form of heart disease, you may qualify for Social Security Disability benefits.
Cardiovascular disease is listed under Section 4 of the Blue Book Listing of Impairments and includes subcategories which list specific conditions the SSA recognizes as potentially disabling. Each condition lists the specific symptoms required to qualify as a disability.
Cardiovascular Diseases Listed in the Blue Book
- Chronic heart failure– occurs when the heart is unable to supply enough blood to the body because it has become weakened due to heart attacks or defects, faulty functioning of the heart’s ventricles, or high blood pressure. It often leads to severe fluid retention, known as congestive heart failure.
- Ischemic heart disease – occurs when the heart muscle is unable to get a sufficient blood supply; its usual cause is coronary heart disease.
- Recurrent arrhythmias – abnormal heart rates, either too fast or slow, which may cause fainting or cardiac arrest.
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease – birth defects in the heart which cause malfunctions.
- Heart transplant – heart replacement due to heart disease which qualifies as a disability up to 1 year.
- Aneurism of aorta or branches – swelling in the major arteries of the heart due to heart disease.
- Chronic venous insufficiency – circulation problem due to damaged veins, usually in the legs.
- Peripheral arterial disease – impaired function of outlying arteries.
If you have been severely affected by heart disease in the form of these conditions, you may qualify for disability benefits.
You might also want to seek out the help of a Social Security lawyer. They will help you get all of your medical documentation in order to give you the best chance of winning your case.