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Whipple's Disease and Social Security Disability

Whipple’s Disease – Condition and Symptoms

Whipple’s Disease is a systemic infectious disease caused by the Tropheryma whipplei bacteria. George Hoyt Whipple, for whom the disease was named, first documented this condition. This condition usually causes malabsorption, which is an abnormality in the absorption of food nutrients across the gastrointestinal tract.

When the condition in a more advanced state, the level of malabsorption can lead to the enlargement and wasting of the lymph nodes in the abdominal area. When the abdominal disease is in a severe state, neurological symptoms may develop. Neurological symptoms affect nearly 40% of those afflicted by this disease.

Neurological issues that can develop from Whipple’s Disease include dementia, memory loss, confusion, and decreased consciousness. Irregular eye movements and myorhythmia, together known as oculamasticatory myorhythmia, is a classic characteristic of Whipple’s Disease. This may be further compounded by weakness and poor coordination in specific parts of the body, as well as headaches, seizures, and other uncommon neurological features.

Chronic malabsorptive diarrhea may also develop and lead to steatorrhea. Symptoms of steatorrhea include fatty, offensive smelling stool; abdominal distention; and flatulence. Malabsorption can also lead to enteropathy, which depletes the necessary albumin protein in the blood, and can further lead to peripheral edema.

Treating Whipple’s Disease requires a strict regimen of antibiotics for one or two years. If the treatment plan is disrupted and does not continue for the recommended period, the patient will have a 40 percent chance of relapse. The following drugs can be used in the treatment of Whipple’s Disease:

  • Penicillin
  • Ampicillin
  • Tetracycline
  • Co-trimoxazole
  • Doxycycline with hydroxychloroquine
  • Sulfonamides, such as sulfadiazine or sulfamethoxazole

Filing for Disability Benefits with Whipple’s Disease

Whipple’s Disease is an infectious disease that causes internal sores, lesions, the thickening of the tissue, or finger-like projections in the small intestines. These deformities cause an inefficiency in the absorption of nutrients, which can lead to other medical conditions. The following symptoms may need to be present for an affliction of Whipple’s Disease to qualify for Social Security benefits:

  • Diarrhea or Steatorrhea
  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Joint pain and inflammatory arthritis
  • Neurological issues

Whipple’s Disease can be a debilitating and embarrassing condition for those who suffer from it. Sufferers may not be able to function properly in an economically enriching environment because the symptoms of Whipple’s Disease can be disruptive to normal routines. In addition, the chronic malabsorption of nutrients can cause severe, long-term health consequences and may be fatal it left untreated.

If you have Whipple’s Disease, you may need all the help you can get to manage the symptoms and eventually contain the infection. Your Social Security benefits may provide a lifeline to start taking control of your life back from this debilitating condition.

Your Whipple’s Disease Disability Claim

Whipple’s Disease, especially when left undiagnosed or improperly treated, can lead to a level of impairment that would allow you to apply for Social Security benefits. Your disability attorney, with his or her experience and insight in the process of disability application, can provide you a thorough walk-through to give you the best possible footing when applying for these benefits.

A disability attorney can also help you process your claim. They can advise you on what medical documents you will need to procure from your physician, clinic, or hospital. These documents will help make a stronger case on for your application for Social Security benefits. If you would love to speak to a disability attorney about your Whipple's Disease case, please fill out the Free Disability Evaluation.

You disability attorney is your partner in making sure you get the Social Security benefits you deserve. In summary, the disability attorney can:

  • Advise you regarding your possible eligibility for Social Security benefits
  • Enlighten you about the extent of paperwork for your initial application
  • Ensure the smooth handling of your application and/or appeal
  • Represent you during the scheduled appeals hearing