Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body, and you need to take care of it to ensure your health in the future. People who find out that they have viral myocarditis sometimes wonder what they can do to protect their health and get help to pay for living expenses now if they’re unable to work from the illness. Finding an attorney that’s experienced in working with the Social Security Administration and insurance carriers can greatly improve the chances of a successful claim for this heart disease.
What is Viral Myocarditis?
A viral infection is one of the many reasons that some people develop myocarditis. In fact, it’s actually the most common reason Bacterial infections, alcohol and drugs, poison from insect and animal bites, and certain cancer treatments are several of the other known causes.
Viral myocarditis happens when there’s a viral infection that affects the myocardium, which is the middle layer in the heart. Eventually, the infection will weaken the heart muscle and prevent electrical signals from passing through the myocardium. Over time, a heart will have more difficulties beating regularly and pumping blood throughout the body, potentially leading to congestive heart failure..
More specifically, myocarditis is when the heart becomes inflamed, leading to a weakening of the heart. People who have viral myocarditis will also have fluid around the heart. There are several ways that viral myocarditis can be diagnosed, including the use of an x-ray, an ECG test, MRI, echocardiogram, blood tests, and endomyocardial biopsy.
A virus is the most common cause of myocarditis. Some of the most common viruses that cause viral myocarditis include the common cold virus, hepatitis B and C, parvovirus, and herpes simplex virus. While it’s common for viruses to cause myocarditis, some people who experience the condition never even know because the case was mild and they recovered quickly.
While viral myocarditis can affect anyone, the highest risk population is people in their early teens to early thirties. In fact, myocarditis is one of the leading causes of sudden death in young people, including children and young adults. Males are also twice as likely to be affected by myocarditis than females. It can even affect otherwise healthy, athletic people.
Symptoms of Viral Myocarditis
The symptoms of viral myocarditis are very similar to many other heart conditions. One of the most common symptoms is chest pain, which sometimes feels like a stabbing in the chest. The pain can also radiate out to the shoulders and arms. Heart arrhythmia and rapid heart beats are two other common symptoms and are caused because the heart is working harder to pump blood throughout the body.
Weakness, dizziness, and fatigue are also common because the heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently throughout the body. In rare cases, the irregular heartbeat and decreased oxygen to the brain can even result in fainting. Many people also experience shortness of breath because the lungs are trying harder to provide oxygen to the rest of the body. Finally, another one of the most common symptoms is swelling in the legs and ankles caused by fluid retention, which is somewhat common when the myocarditis is caused by the parvovirus.
Additionally, since a viral infection is causing the myocarditis, some people will exhibit other symptoms that the virus commonly causes. These can include body aches, headache, sore throat, fever, joint pain, swollen joints, neck pain, and diarrhea.
The exact symptoms that a person experiences will partially depend on the virus and partially how their body typically responds to viruses. For instance, hepatitis C produces symptoms that are very different than those produced by herpes simplex virus. Also, depending on a person’s immune system, their symptoms might vary in intensity, and some people might experience a wider array of symptoms for certain viruses than other people infected with the same virus.
Treatment for Viral Myocarditis
A doctor might choose to treat the infection first to lessen the likelihood of further complications after the virus is gone. Drugs are often prescribed to help the heart heal, too. For instance, a doctor could prescribe certain medications to lessen the likelihood of a blood clot.
There are several types of drugs that a doctor might prescribe to lessen the workload on the heart and get rid of excess fluid. For instance, Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme (ACE) inhibitors and Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) help the vessels relax so that blood flows through the body more easily, causing the heart to work less. Beta blockers control arrhythmia and prevent further heart failure, and diuretics relieve fluid retention by getting rid of excess sodium.
In some cases, when these medications are administered, the person suffering from myocarditis also needs to be hospitalized. If a case is severe enough, there are several other types of treatments that doctors might need to take. For instance, they might need to use an intravenous method to deliver medications so that the drugs enter the blood stream immediately and the heart receives the relief that it needs immediately.
If the heart is particularly stressed, it might also need a ventricular assist device, which is a mechanical pump. Intra-aortic balloon pumps are used to insert extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation devices to provide life-saving treatment.
Disability Benefits for Viral Myocarditis
Some people with viral myocarditis will need benefits while they’re recovering. One of the complications that qualify people for SSDI benefits is dilated cardiomyopathy, and there are other chronic cardiac conditions that will also help a person qualify.
For people who have one of these heart conditions due to viral myocarditis, there are a few criteria that they must also meet. For instance, they must have medical records of their condition, and within those medical records, there must also be evidence that several forms of treatment have been used to attempt to treat the condition. The heart condition must also be severe and ongoing. In the medical records that are submitted for SSDI benefits, there should be records of any hospital stays, lab testing, and physical exams. There should also be records of the diastolic and systolic failure as well as record of fluid retention in the heart.
In addition to giving evidence of the severity of the heart condition and the treatments that have been used to address the medical problem, people applying for the SSDI benefits for viral myocarditis must also have records of having failed the exercise tolerance test. This test is designed to assess the amount and strenuousness of the work that you’re able to safely do on a regular basis.
One of the final ways that a person can qualify for disability benefits is if they give medical records of having had at least three heart failures that required hospitalization within a 12-month period of time.
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 an existing 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 Viral Myocarditis, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.