Tuesday, August 28, 2007

COPD, Social Security Disability SSI (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) - Applying for Disability

COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) is a phrase that most disability examiners (examiners make decisions on social security disability and ssi cases for the social security administration) are familiar with. And I say the word phrase because COPD actually refers to a category of respiratory ailments that includes emphysema, among others.

If your condition has been diagnosed as COPD or emphysema, or you have another type of respiratory impairment such as asthma, the individual working on your disability claim (depending on the level your disability claim is at, this could be an examiner or a judge) will want to review your medical records and also any statements you or your disability attorney can present from your treating physicians.

Additionally, depending on how well documented your COPD is, you may be required to go to a social security medical examination at which spirometry is conducted. For those who are unaware, spirometry is pulmonary function testing that provides a measurement of how well an individual's lungs are functioning. All such examinations, of course, are paid for by the social security administration, in addition to being scheduled by SSA.

For additional information on the social security disability system (including how the system works, various tips, and mistakes to avoid), you may wish to use the link at the top of this page that leads to Disability Secrets.com or, if you are interested in representation, you can scroll to the bottom of this post and submit a free case evaluation form.

What follows is basic information on COPD:

It is estimated that eighty million individuals have moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease worldwide, and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2030 it will comprise the fourth largest cause of mortality.

What is COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease? COPD refers to a group of irreversible diseases that restrict the airflow in the airways of the lungs, including chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Approximately ninety percent of all COPD cases in the United States involve tobacco usage (studies indicate that smoking may increase an individual’s chance of getting a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease by twenty five percent). Although most individuals acquire COPD by smoking, some individuals acquire the disease through exposure to coal dust, solvents, and asbestos.

What symptoms are associated with COPD? Individuals with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may experience shortness of breath, constant cough, wheezing, and mucous production.

Although there is no known cure for COPD, early detection and treatment of the disease improves an individual’s quality of life as well as life expectancy. However early detection and treatment are not enough, an individual must stop smoking to significantly slow the progression of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In addition to cessation of smoking, individuals with COPD might be treated with bronchodilators and other inhalers to improve their breathing. In more severe cases of COPD, an individual may require the use of supplemental oxygen to improve the oxygen concentration in their arterial blood.

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