Most people have a general idea of what diabetes is, but not everyone knows about all of the complications that can accompany the disease unless they have experienced it or know someone who has experienced a moderate to severe case of the disease. Anyone who is suffering from this disease will know that some of the complications can be severe enough to require hospitalization or care from a loved one, and anyone who is having difficulties working because of their diabetes should look into disability benefits from the SSA.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a family of diseases in which there’s too much sugar in the blood stream. There are several reasons that a person might have diabetes, which also plays a role in why their body isn’t metabolizing the sugar the way that it should.
Type I diabetes occurs when a person is born with the condition. With this version of diabetes, the pancreas makes too little insulin, which the body needs to regulate blood sugar levels. There are no cure for type I diabetes, so it lasts a person’s entire life.
People who have type II diabetes develop the disease later in life. This type of diabetes usually shows itself when a person is an adult, but more children today are developing the condition earlier in life. With this type of diabetes, the person’s body either doesn’t make enough insulin or resists insulin. Being overweight and inactive along with genetic factors are correlated with this type of diabetes. Additionally, type II diabetes usually lasts for years or even an entire life.
Some women develop diabetes when they become pregnant, but the condition usually goes away after she are no longer pregnant. This condition is called gestational diabetes. If the diabetes doesn’t go away soon after the delivery, it’s classified as type II diabetes.
Prediabetes is the final type that someone might have. This type of diabetes is a precursor to type II diabetes. Generally, this type is very reversible because, while the blood sugar in someone with prediabetes is high, it’s not as high as someone with type II diabetes.
Symptoms of Diabetes
The exact symptoms that a person with diabetes can vary according to the type of diabetes that the person has. It can even vary from one person to another, even if two people have the same type of diabetes, but there are a few common symptoms that many people have.
Frequent urination, increased thirst, and hunger even while eating are all common for both type I and type II diabetes. People often feel more of a need to urinate because the kidneys have to work harder to get rid of the extra glucose, and the kidneys pull liquids from tissues in the body to do flush the system out. As a consequence, people with diabetes are often dehydrated, causing them to be thirsty.
Especially for people with type I diabetes, hunger is a common symptom because the glucose never reaches a person’s cells, which can cause a person to be more hungry. In fact, people who are experiencing this process are losing the calories from the glucose through their urine, which also leads to weight loss even when the person isn’t trying to lose weight. Fatigue is another symptom of diabetes that’s caused by the loss of hydration and calories.
Some people with diabetes can also have blurry vision, which is somewhat caused by the lack of hydration in the body. As the body pulls water from tissues in the body, the retina can be one type of tissue that suffers, causing blurry vision. The retina can also create extra blood vessels and damage existing ones, which can lead to vision loss.
Since high levels of glucose affect blood flow, people with diabetes can have a body that heals slowly because the body needs blood to heal cuts and scrapes. This is especially true if there are scrapes and cuts on the feet.
High levels of glucose can also affect nerves, so people with diabetes can experience tingling in their arms, hands, legs, and feet. Finally, some people with diabetes might notice red or swollen gums because diabetes can affect a person’s ability to fight infections.
Treatments for Diabetes
The type of treatments that are most effective depend on the type of diabetes and the severity of it. There are times when modifying lifestyle can have major positive effects on the person’s symptoms, and in some cases, lifestyle changes can even reverse type II diabetes.
One of the most important lifestyle changes that a person with type II diabetes should make to lessen their need for medications is to lose any extra weight that they’re carrying. They can do this through both diet and exercise. Increasing fiber in the diet can also slow the rate at which sugar is being absorbed into the blood stream, which will also help even out glucose levels. Finally, quitting smoking can help the prognosis of people suffering from type II diabetes because nicotine narrows and hardens blood vessels, which can make someone even more prone to heart disease, which is common in people with diabetes.
People with type II diabetes will also likely have to take some form of medication. Insulin is the common name of the drug that’s often given to people with diabetes. Drugs like saxagliptin and gluburide are also used to treat high glucose levels in people with type II diabetes. And since the risk of heart disease is higher in people with diabetes, some patients might also be prescribed statin, which can treat high cholesterol.
People with type I diabetes won’t be able to reverse their diabetes with lifestyle changes, but they still need to be conscious about what they eat. While no particular food is off limits, they should center most of their meals around high-fiber, low-fat foods. Many people with type I diabetes also time their meals with when they take their insulin.
People with type I diabetes could need to take medications for cholesterol and blood pressure. They might also get a pancreas transplant or an artificial pancreas, which is a device that monitors insulin levels and automatically administers the correct dose of insulin when needed.
Disability Benefits for Diabetes
While merely being diagnosed with diabetes won’t gain a person disability benefits, they can get benefits if they have certain complications. For instance, if a person has skin lacerations that won’t heal for three consecutive months and the lacerations make it difficult or impossible to work, the person might qualify under the listing for chronic skin infections.
Another listing that someone with diabetes complications might qualify for is kidney disease. A person might meet the listing if they have to get dialysis on a daily basis, which would likely interfere with their ability to work.
Peripheral neuropathy is common for people with diabetes, which can make it more difficult to do certain jobs. Cardiovascular problems, vision problems, or the amputation of a limb are all other ways that a person might be able to gain SSDI benefits for diabetes.
If a person doesn’t meet any of the above listing requirements, the Social Security Administration might administer a residual functional capacity test to assess whether or not the combination of symptoms interferes with the applicant’s ability to do any of their previous or current jobs.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Diabetes, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.