Some types of diseases have obvious symptoms, but other types of diseases can be silent but deadly. Hypertension is a disease that affects the heart and circulatory system, and it can often go undiagnosed and untreated for years because most people don’t experience symptoms until years later. By then, there could be extensive damage to the heart and circulatory system, and people with hypertension might need more treatment to get healthy. If this happens, they’ll need help with finding ways to pay their bills until they’re well again. Applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration is one avenue that anyone who is suffering from hypertension and the negative side effects that it causes should seek out.
What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is a condition that can lead to heart problems. When a person has high blood pressure, the blood hits the arterial walls with more force. High blood pressure is very common. In fact, almost everyone eventually develops it over a long period of time.
There are two kinds of hypertension, and each one occurs under different circumstances. The first kind doesn’t have a specific cause. It’s called primary hypertension, and it’s the most common form of hypertension in adults. This is also the kind that can take several years to develop.
Secondary hypertension is usually caused by another, underlying condition. This type of hypertension happens suddenly instead of over a long period of time, and it will usually cause blood pressure to spike higher than it would with primary hypertension. There are several medical conditions and medications that can cause secondary hypertension, including kidney or thyroid problems, obstructive sleep apnea, adrenal gland tumors, and congenital defects with the blood vessels. Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines, can also cause blood pressure to spike. Finally, some prescription and over-the-counter medications, such as birth control and cold remedies, can cause the blood pressure to spike while the person is taking them.
There are several common risk factors, including age, weight, race, family history, diet, and nicotine use. Risk of primary hypertension goes up with age and weight, and people with a family history are more likely to develop primary hypertension. High-salt diets and nicotine use will also increase the likelihood of developing high blood pressure. Finally, African Americans are more likely than other racial groups to develop high blood pressure at a younger age.
Symptoms of Hypertension
Hypertension can go undiagnosed for years because there aren’t necessarily any symptoms of this condition for a very long time. In fact, many people can have their blood pressure reach dangerously high levels and still not have any symptoms.
People who do experience symptoms when their levels get very high might get headaches, nosebleeds, or shortness of breath. But because not everyone experiences these symptoms, and because people only experience them when the levels are dangerous, all adults should have their blood pressure regularly monitored by a doctor. People can also monitor their blood pressure at home.
To monitor blood pressure levels, the doctor or the individual with high blood pressure can take the blood pressure levels by using an inflatable arm cuff. Another way that people can monitor their blood pressure is by using the free blood pressure machine that is often available at drug stores and in the pharmacy departments of large department stores.
Although not everyone develops them, there are several types of potential complications to hypertension. For instance, trouble with memory and onset of dementia earlier in a person’s life can sometimes be signs of hypertension. Heart attack, stroke, and aneurisms are also signs of hypertension, but hypertension is so common that people should never wait for these conditions to present themselves to seek treatment.
Treatment for Hypertension
The exact reason for hypertension will somewhat affect what kind of treatment the person will receive. If the reason for hypertension is the use of illegal drugs or a prescription drug that can be replaced with a substitute that won’t cause high blood pressure, switching out the drug or quitting it might be the best option.
A doctor might also prescribe blood pressure medications. Thiazide diuretics are one type of medication that can help with reducing blood pressure by lowering the volume of blood by helping the kidneys filter out salt.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are another type of medication that doctors can prescribe. This type of medicine works by helping the blood vessels to relax. This is often used with people with chronic kidney disease.
Calcium channel blockers are another type of medication that doctors prescribe to help with high blood pressure. This type of medication can also help the blood vessels relax.
Lifestyle choices can affect people’s blood pressure, so people with hypertension need to take special care to follow a prescribed diet, get plenty of exercise, and quit nicotine use. Along with being cautious of what a person eats, they should also be aware of how much alcohol they consume.
Less commonly, alpha blockers, alpha-beta blockers, beta blockers, aldosterone antagonists, renin inhibitors, vasodilators, and central-acting agents can sometimes be prescribed to control high blood pressure.
Disability Benefits for Hypertension
Although the consequences of untreated hypertension can be severe or even fatal, hypertension itself is not usually enough to qualify for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. But there are several conditions that a person might have in conjunction with hypertension that could cause a person to qualify for benefits.
First and foremost, one of the most important criteria that a person must meet to be able to qualify for disability benefits with the Social Security Administration is for the disability to have already lasted for 12 months or for it to be reasonable to assume that it will last for at least 12 months. Secondly, the symptoms must make it severely more difficult or impossible to do any kind of work.
Some of the most common types of conditions that coincide with hypertension include strokes, heart attacks, aneurism, blindness from narrowed or torn blood vessels in the eyes, metabolic syndrome, and weakened vessels near the kidneys. If someone develops one of these conditions, they might become eligible for Social Security Benefits. To learn more about the criteria for each particular condition, a person should look into the Blue Book, which is the guide book that the SSA uses to determine an applicant’s eligibility for benefits.
If an applicant still doesn’t meet the criteria for any of the disabilities listed in the Blue Book, they might still be able to get benefits if they take the residual functional capacity test, which is a test in which a doctor lists all of the limitations that an applicant has. Then, the SSA compares the list to the jobs that the applicant has done in the past to determine whether or not there are any suitable jobs for the applicant.
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 Hypertension, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.