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Despite any misconceptions you or an employer may have about asthma, it is still considered a problematic condition. Although it can be only a minor inconvenience in some people, it can develop into much larger problems. Claims for Social Security disability related to or based on asthma are not uncommon, and we take these cases just as seriously as any other.

Asthma, as defined by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, is a chronic lung disease that inflames passageways for oxygen to go through, causing a patient to consistently wheeze, feel chest pain, or shortness of breath. Asthma typically starts in patients when they’re young children, and continues on during that person’s life, because it cannot be cured. Over 20 million people in this country have asthma, so it’s obviously no laughing matter. Also, it’s important to know that not everyone with asthma will experience the symptoms of it, and vice versa.

An asthma diagnosis requires a doctor to give you a physical exam, as well as results from tests they’ll inevitably run. Those tests, however, will determine your level of asthma (mild, moderate, etc.). Even though there isn’t a known cause for this condition, it is believed that genetics play a role in its development. Doctor’s will most likely ask you about your medical history because of this. Also important to know is the tests doctors can run to determine if you have asthma or not. One of these is a Pulmonary Function Test, which measures how much air you are able to breathe in and out.

Treating asthma is probably can be difficult. Since it is a long-term disease, the only way to combat it is to manage it well. There are many medications for this illness, and new ones are being developed all the time. Many patients use a bronchodilation machine where strong medication is inhaled through the machine at home. Some people need steroid treatments periodically or on an ongoing basis. Some patients are on oxygen. You and your doctor (or asthma specialist, if he/she so recommends it) will need to talk about the issues you have with asthma, since its onslaught varies in almost everyone. The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is figure out what causes an asthma attack for you, or what can trigger your symptoms. Knowing this will help you be able to live a normal life.

Social Security defines “work” as an eight hour a day, five-day week endeavor. As in most Social Security Disability claims, the judge’s decision boils down to whether or not he or she believes that you can perform the basic functions of work (sitting, standing, walking, lifting, concentrating, interacting appropriately with people encountered in the workplace, etc.). The fact that a claimant can only perform these basic functions sporadically, but not consistently, is the basis for the large majority of successful Social Security Disability claims.

Asthma is a condition that affects millions of people in the United States, and there is no cure. Although it can be very serious, asthma can be monitored and managed by the patient and doctor to make it less stressful to have. Some who are reading this might have just been denied benefits, or are thinking about applying, and some might be looking for information. In either case, we’d like you to call us. If it’s that you don’t understand something in the article, you’d like us to take you on as a client, or you want to know something about social security, we’ll talk. We believe that our clients don’t have dumb questions, so we encourage you to give us a call.

Some suggestions for further reading:

1. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Diseases/Asthma/Asthma_WhatIs.html

2. http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/asthma/facts.htm

3. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/disabilities/

4. http://www.barackobama.com/issues/healthcare/