Ischemic Heart Disease – Condition and Symptoms
Ischemic Cardiomyopathy, ischemic heart disease, and Cardiomyopathy - ischemic, are terms which describe a condition which causes reduced heart muscle contractions caused by coronary artery disease. Ischemic Cardiomyopathy is found most often in middle-aged and elderly men. It affects an estimated 1 out of 100 people, and is the leading type of Cardiomyopathy in the US.
Ischemic heart disease is the result of blocked or constricted arteries which supply the heart with blood. The most common cause of ischemic heart disease is a buildup of cholesterol or plaque in the arteries that supply oxygen to the heart. Over time, the heart has reduced functionality, and it becomes increasingly difficult for it to perform.
Congestive heart failure is commonly linked to Ischemic Cardiomyopathy. People with ischemic heart disease may have experienced a heart attack, angina, or unstable angina, and these symptoms might go unnoticed.
Risks for Ischemic Cardiomyopathy include, but are not limited to, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, or high blood pressure. Other contributing factors are a history of heart problems in the family, atherosclerosis, unstable angina, and angina.
People suffering from Ischemic Cardiomyopathy also sometimes exhibit symptoms of heart failure or angina. Symptoms of angina include pain, tightness, pressure, or squeezing in the chest. This pain could spread to the shoulder, arm, neck, jaw, and back.
Dizziness or light-headedness is another symptom as well as a feeling of indigestion or heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and cold sweats, a sensation of feeling the heart beat known as palpitations, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
Signs of heart failure can develop slowly over a period time. Sometimes symptoms come on suddenly and are overwhelming. Symptoms can include waking from sleep with feeling short of breath, reduction of appetite, cough, and short of breath (particularly when active), shortness of breath that occurs after lying down, and swelling of lower extremities and abdomen.
Examinations and testing are used to detect cracks in the lungs, elevated pressure in the neck vein, enlarged liver, and abnormal sounds in the heart. There may be other signs of heart failure, consult your physician for additional information. Ischemic heart disease is diagnosed only if a test shows that the blood pumping through the heart is too low. This is referred to as decreased ejection fraction. The average ejection fraction is 55 - 65%.
Ischemic heart disease can make people more likely to have heart failure. The symptoms and signs noted above are when the ejection fraction is normal or near normal. Diastolic heart failure is due to the abnormal relaxation of the heart. This is sometimes called "heart failure with preserved ejection fraction." Treatment is used to relieve symptoms and treat the cause of the condition. Drug treatments which can be used include ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, diuretics, digitalis glycosides, and beta-blockers. A low-salt diet may be advised, as well as fluid restrictions in some cases.
A stay in the hospital may be needed if symptoms are bad enough. Cardiac catheterization may be used to determine if coronary artery bypass surgery or angioplasty would correct the problem. Other surgical options are available to correct the issue and include implants such as a single or dual chamber pacemaker, biventricular pacemaker, implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, or a left ventricular assist device.
A heart transplant is sometimes an option as a last course of action for patients who have tried all the other procedures and still suffer from symptoms. Recently, implantable, artificial hearts have been used but only a few candidates are able to participate in the program.
Applying for Social Security Disability Benefits with a Diagnosis of Ischemic Heart Disease
Ischemic heart disease, with symptoms due to myocardial ischemia, is a condition described in the Social Security Impairment Listing Manual, referred to as the “Blue Book”, and is a condition that may allow a person to collect Social Security Disability benefits. To collect Social Security Disability benefits, the applicant must show that their condition results in “very serious limitations in the ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities of daily living.”
Information regarding the requirements to qualify for Social Security Disability benefits with ischemic heart disease are found in Blue Book Section 4.00 Cardiovascular System- Adult. You will need, at the very least, your complete physical examination findings and the results of any heart tests which have been performed. Typically, you will also need the results of an exercise tolerance test. It is important that these tests be reasonably current (within the past year).
This is a very serious disorder. It is a chronic illness that usually gets worse over time. Infection and other stress on your body from other medical illnesses will also cause symptoms to get worse. It is very important to discuss your situation with your doctor to ensure that you can improve it as much as possible. You will also want to make sure that all treatments prescribed are followed and documented, as qualifying for disability benefits often requires showing that your condition has not improved significantly despite treatment.
Your Ischemic Heart Disease Social Security Disability Case
Most disability claimants find it in their best interests to have their case reviewed and represented by a qualified Social Security Disability lawyer. Even those with serious conditions such as ischemic heart disease are sometimes denied benefits. Often, the reasons for such denials would have been addressed had an experienced disability lawyer been handling the claim.
For additional information regarding applying for Social Security Disability benefits with a diagnosis of Ischemic heart disease, contact a Social Security Disability lawyer by requesting a free Social Security Disability case evaluation today.