You are here

Can I Continue Working with Thyroid Gland Disorders?

Thyroid gland disorders can make working difficult. Thyroid gland disorders, such as hypothyroidism, can impact your entire body. Difficulties arise that make working a challenge. If working is not an option, your thyroid gland disorder may qualify you for disability benefits.

Thyroid gland disorders are types of endocrine system disorders. Our thyroid gland, which is located in our necks, affects out body’s metabolism which, in turn, affects several other body functions and systems. There are a number of conditions which can cause the thyroid gland to stop functioning properly. These conditions range from cancer to goiter to conditions which cause the thyroid gland to produce too little or too much thyroid hormone.

Over- of under-production of thyroid hormones is the most common thyroid gland disorders. Over production, known as hyperthyroidism, can lead to a number of medical and psychiatric conditions. Symptoms range from mild nuisances to quite serious. Typical symptoms of hyperthyroidism include:

  • Sweatiness
  • Weight loss (often quite rapid)
  • Racing heart
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Panic attacks
  • Grave’s disease

Hypothyroidism is the opposite of hyperthyroidism. It is a condition in which your thyroid glands don’t produce enough of the thyroid hormone. Typical symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Sluggishness
  • Depression
  • Problems with the immune system
  • Stunted growth (in children)
  • Dwarfism (in children)
  • Mental retardation (in children)

Most thyroid disorders, including thyroid cancer, are treatable. The body systems, body functions affected, as well as the exact symptoms and their severity vary from one person with thyroid gland disorders to the next. For some, the condition can be completely debilitating. For others, the symptoms can be controlled with medical treatment and lifestyle changes.

How Thyroid Gland Disorders Affect Your Physical Capacity for Work

Your ability to perform physical work may or may not be affected by a thyroid gland disorder. The effect on how much and which type of physical work you can reasonably perform depends largely on which symptoms you deal with and how severe they are. Cardiovascular problems caused by hyperthyroidism can make any type of significant physical exertion unhealthy for you. Shaking can make it impossible to perform jobs which require fine motor skills.

Those who deal with hypothyroidism can find it difficult to perform physical work due to the lack of energy, sluggishness, and malaise the condition causes. Additionally, the effects on the immune system can limit what types of work environment are safe for those with some types of thyroid gland disorders. People who have had thyroid gland disorders since childhood may be unable to perform many types of physical work due to growth disorders and the problems associated with them.

How Thyroid Gland Disorders Affects Your Mental Capacity for Work

As with the effects of thyroid gland disorders on your physical ability to work, the impact on your mental ability to work depends on which symptoms you have and how severe they are. Anxiety attacks, panic attacks, and depression can all render you mentally and psychiatrically incapable of engaging in gainful activity.

In some cases, the psychiatric conditions which can accompany thyroid gland disorders make it impossible to concentrate for extended periods of time. They may also make it difficult to function in a social work environment. In some cases, panic and anxiety attacks can actually make your presence at a worksite dangerous to you and to other workers.

How to Apply for Social Security Disability Based on Thyroid Gland Disorders

The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently added a listing to the Blue Book to deal with endocrine disorders. Thyroid gland disorders fall under this category, in Section 9 of the Blue Book. Unlike other listed conditions, however, endocrine disorders do not have well defined parameters of their own to help SSA representatives decide whether your condition qualifies you for Social Security disability benefits. Instead, SSA representatives will judge your claim based on the body functions or systems which are affected by the symptoms of your thyroid gland disorder.

Depending on which systems and functions of your body are affected, there may or may not be cut and dried regulations in place which determine whether you qualify for benefits. In general, you will need to show medical evidence that you cannot reasonably be expected to perform any kind of gainful activity based on your condition.

Many claimants find it helpful to contact a Social Security lawyer to go over their claims with them. This can be particularly useful for those claiming disability benefits based on thyroid gland disorders, since there are so many variables which may need to be considered, depending on which symptoms you have experienced.