The thyroid is responsible for a range of types of bodily functioning, and anyone who is struggling with a thyroid gland disorder might experience a range of symptoms, including sleep disturbances, weight loss or gain, mood disturbances, joint pain, and a number of other conditions. When a person has difficulties with their thyroid, the symptoms might even be severe enough that they have difficulties going to work and being productive. Anyone who has a thyroid condition or is experiencing symptoms of a thyroid condition should learn as much as they can about it, but they should also find out more about how they can receive disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.
Thyroid Gland Disorders
Thyroid gland disorders is an umbrella term for several types of disorders that affect the thyroid. Some of the most common ones include hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism, goiters, Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, thyroid cancer, and thyroid nodules.
The thyroid is responsible for regulating hormones and metabolism. During certain times, such as when a woman is pregnant or someone is cold or growing, the thyroid will put out extra hormones so that the body can have extra energy to do the activities that the body needs to do. When someone’s thyroid isn’t working properly, there are a number of symptoms that the person could experience, such as an inability to regulate energy levels, temperature, and body weight.
Not all thyroid disorders necessarily mean that there will be symptoms or complications. For instance, most thyroid nodules aren’t cancerous and won’t cause any problems, but they should be watched because they could become cancerous. Similarly, goiters are non-cancerous lumps near the thyroid.
Hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism are two related conditions. In fact, some people who have hyperthyroidism as juveniles and young adults end up having hypothyroidism later in life. People with hypothyroidism don’t make enough of the hormones necessary for quick metabolism and high energy levels, and people with hyperthyroidism make too much of the hormones.
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that causes hyperthyroidism by telling the thyroid to make more hormones than what the body actually needs. And Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is a condition in which the immune system attacks itself, resulting in excess production of hormones and hyperthyroidism. Over time, though, the condition swings the other way and results in hypothyroidism.
Thyroid diseases often run in families, so anyone who has a parent or sibling with a thyroid disorder is at a greater chance of also having some kind of thyroid disorder.
Symptoms of Thyroid Gland Disorders
The exact symptoms that a person with a thyroid gland disorder will experience depends on which disorder they have. More specifically, if a person is experiencing a disorder that causes hypothyroidism, their experiences will be opposite of the types of symptoms that many people with hyperthyroidism experience.
One of the symptoms of hypothyroidism is weight gain or difficulties losing weight even when a healthy diet and exercise is employed. People with hypothyroidism also often experience lethargy, a sensitivity to the cold, dry skin, constipation, and with adolescents, delayed puberty.
People with hyperthyroidism are more likely to be anxious, nervous, or irritable. They’re also more prone to mood swings in general. Because their thyroid is overactive, they’re also more likely to have difficulties sleeping, and they might experience sensitivity to heat instead of being cold all the time like people with hypothyroidism are. Difficulties keeping weight on, hair loss, excessive sweating, and hair loss are also possibilities. Itchiness, persistent thirst, and the need to urinate more frequently than normal are also common symptoms. Finally, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle weakness, and loss of interest in sex are also common for people with hyperthyroidism.
People with Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s disease will experience some of the same symptoms of either hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, or both. The cause of the initial reason for either hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism simply varies.
Treatment for Thyroid Gland Disorders
The type of treatment that’s appropriate depends on the type of thyroid gland disorder that they have. For instance, if they have a benign lump, the doctor might simply want to watch the goiter or nodule for any changes. But if the person has thyroid cancer or has a hot node, which is a lump that could turn into cancer, the doctor has a few options that are common for people with cancer. For instance, they might do surgery or use chemotherapy, radiation, or a number of other treatments for cancer.
If the person has any kind of disorder that leads to hypothyroidism, they will likely need hormone replacement therapy. This type of therapy involves using a synthetic hormone to send hormones, called T3s and T4s, to the person’s body. Similarly, people with hyperthyroidism will need a medication, but instead of a hormone replacement, they need a beta blockers. These beta blockers stop the release of adrenaline and noradrenaline to slow the heart rate and generally make the person feel more calm.
Similarly, someone with Hashimoto’s disease will get hormone replacement therapy, but people with Graves’ disease can receive one of three treatments. The first option is to get androgen blockers just how they would get them if the hyperthyroidism was caused by something else. But the other option is to get radioactive iodine therapy and radiation. This process can kill the thyroid enough that it’s not sending out as many hormones. A final option is to get surgery to remove part or all of the thyroid.
Disability Benefits for Thyroid Gland Disorders
There are ways for people with a thyroid gland disorder to receive the benefits that they need if they are completely disabled because of their thyroid condition. But the disability has to be complete rather than a partial disability.
While thyroid gland disorders are discussed in the Social Security Administration’s Blue Book, there isn’t a specific listing for them because many people can control their symptoms with medications. But if that’s not possible, there are listings for some of the symptoms of thyroid disorders that some people might be able to get disability benefits under.
For instance, since hyperthyroidism can cause heart problems, some people might fall under that listing. Some other possibilities include thyroid cancer, strokes, and digestive system disorders. Additionally, some people might have symptoms that fall under depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders.
Another option for some people who don’t meet any of the above listings is to apply using the residual functional capacity test. This assessment takes the list of limitations that the doctor puts together for the person and compares it with the jobs that the applicant has done in the past to see if there’s anything that they can do for a living. If there isn’t, then it’s much more likely that the person will be awarded disability benefits.
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 Thyroid Gland Disorders, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.