Obesity can lead to Disability
Years ago, there was a listing in the social security disability list of impairments (the blue book) for Obesity. That listing was 9.09 and it gave consideration to claimants who met height - weight table requirements and who had a certain degree of severity in the areas of respiratory disease, chronic venous sufficiency, congestive heart failure, hypertension, and arthritis. Getting rid of the obesity listing was, and is, controversial. Many would make the argument that having severe morbid obesity to a certain degree is sufficiently limiting, in and of itself, to rule out the ability to maintain competitive employment.
However, that is neither here nor there. A recent reuters news article titled "obesity leads to disability" states that kidney disease is rising due to increases in the general population in a) obesity, b) high blood pressure and c) diabetes.
Obesity can trigger rises in blood pressure, and, when combined with diabetes, can make for a severe vulnerability for kidney impairment. This is because diabetes can lead to nephropathy (damage to kidney tissue that reduces the ability of the kidneys to function properly as filters for the blood) and high blood pressure can, over time, simply put too much pressure on the kidneys. Making things even worse, obesity can result in type 2, or type II, diabetes.
Unlike type I diabetes, which is an autoimmune disorder, type II diabetes is the result of insulin resistance, a situation that develops when the body's own tissues become resistant to taking in insulin, which is necessary to lower blood glucose levels. What causes insulin resistance? Poor diet and...excess weight, particularly weight that is centered in the abdominal area of the body. It's been estimated that a significant percentage of the population, even that percentage that is not classified as diabetic, has some level of insulin resistance. However, over time (meaning with continued weight gain and poor diet), insulin resistance can progress to the degree where an individual may be considered to have type 2 diabetes.
And type 2 diabetes, when not properly controlled by diet and/or medications, can lead to the following: peripheral neuropathy, kidney nephropathy, visual impairment (even blindness), sexual dysfunction, and an increased likelihood of heart disease (high glucose levels can lead to hardening of the arteries).
All of these scenarios are bad, of course. However, when type II diabetes is kept controlled the risk of developing any one of these is reduced. Kidney failure, though, stands out in my mind as one of the worst, because it means going to dialysis three times a week (hemodialysis, by the way, will result in an approval of social security disability or SSI disability benefits).
Unfortunately, as a disability examiner, I saw these diagnosed conditions quite frequently on applications: high blood pressure, diabetes, neuropathy (as a result of diabetes, usually manifested as itching, burning, tingling, or numbness in the hands or feet), and...kidney failure.
High blood pressure and elevated blood sugar levels are nothing, I repeat nothing, to joke around with. For that reason, watch your diet, watch your weight, have your blood pressure checked regularly, and have regular blood work to make sure that your glucose levels are not rising into the diabetic or prediabetic range. And do this especially if you are gaining significant weight or are already overweight.
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