Coagulation Defects - Condition and Symptoms
Coagulation Defects are a family of medical conditions characterized by excessive bleeding and a lack of blood clotting. Your blood clots due to the action of plasma proteins, also known as coagulation factors, which act together with other chemicals in the blood to form fibrin, the material in the blood that stops bleeding. If your plasma proteins are low in number or missing altogether, the blood cannot produce fibrin and excessive bleeding is the result.
Coagulation Defects can result from disease, vitamin K deficiency, or as a side effect of certain medicines, such as aspirin and other anticoagulants. Coagulation Defects are also known as coagulopathy or bleeding disorders. Coagulation Defects can be genetic disorders such as hemophilia, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, and Von Willebrand disease, diseases such as acute or chronic leukemia or liver disease, or conditions such as Vitamin K deficiency. Hemophilia is the most common type of Coagulation Defect. Some Coagulation Defects are mild, while others are life-threatening.
If a review of your symptoms, a physical examination, and a workup of your medical and family history point to a Coagulation Defect, your doctor will probably refer you to a hematologist (a doctor specializing in blood disorders). The hematologist will probably order laboratory tests to confirm the diagnosis. These tests include a complete blood cell count, platelet count, and a blood sample evaluation among other tests. Diagnosing a Coagulation Defect is not as difficult as pinpointing the exact type of defect.
Symptoms of a Coagulation Defect always include excessive bleeding and lack of clotting. These symptoms may appear as heavy menstrual bleeding that does not taper off in a reasonable time, skin that bruises very easily, frequent nose bleeds, bleeding gums and mouth, or excessive bleeding after dental work or after childbirth. In addition, red or purple spots may appear on the body or blood may show up in the stool.
Complications that can arise from the excessive bleeding caused by a Coagulation Defect include deep-muscle bleeding, joint damage and destruction, arthritis symptoms, retinal bleeding, blindness, anemia, infections from blood transfusions, allergic reactions to treatment with clotting factors, hemorrhaging, and death.
Treatment depends on the type of Coagulation Defect. Common treatments include plasma transfusion, platelet transfusion or factor replacement. In addition, any underlying causes must be treated (for example, supplementation for a Vitamin K deficiency, or treatment of leukemia for leukemia-related Coagulation Defects).
Filing for Social Security Disability with a Coagulation Defect Diagnosis
The Social Security Administration classifies Coagulation Defects under Section 7.08 of the section on Hematological Disorders under Coagulation Defects (hemophilia or a similar disorder). SSA requires that inherited (genetic) Coagulation Defects be documented by laboratory evidence. Disease prevention therapy used to ward off the symptoms of the Coagulation Defect will not be enough to establish a disability case. The condition must be present together with spontaneous hemorrhaging requiring transfusion at least three times during the five months prior to the time SSA reviews your case in order to qualify for a favorable ruling. SSA does not specifically discuss coagulation disorders that are the result of other diseases or conditions. In those cases, it is probably wise to document the diseases or conditions that have resulted in your Coagulation Defect in your Social Security exhibit file, as well as the defect itself.
Your Coagulation Defect Disability Case
If you are disabled because of a Coagulation Defect so severe it prevents you from working, you may well be entitled to Social Security Disability benefits. Although total disability based on a diagnosis of a Coagulation Defect can be difficult to prove compared to other disabling conditions, working closely with medical professionals and a qualified Social Security Disability attorney or advocate to collect and present the appropriate documentation to support your disability claim in front of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) can help to ensure that your Coagulation Defect disability case will have the highest possible chance of success.