What Heart Conditions Qualify for Disability?
If you are living with heart disease and struggling to maintain stable employment, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. But what heart conditions qualify for disability?
Types of Heart Disease
According to the Centers for Disease Control, heart attacks are the number one cause of death in the United States for both men and women. Most heart conditions involve the slowing or blockage of blood flow to the heart. Below are common types of heart disease:
Atherosclerosis is caused by plaque building up on the walls of your arteries. As the plaque continues to build up, your arteries get narrower and cannot deliver blood to the heart. The result is a heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction or a stroke.
Instead of restricted blood flow to the heart, an ischemic stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is restricted. The most common symptoms of a stroke are difficulty speaking and walking, paralysis in the limbs or face, and a headache. A severe stroke can cause lasting disabilities including loss of memory, slurred speech, or paralysis.
Hemorrhagic stroke is less common than the ischemic stroke and is caused when blood leaks into the brain from a blood vessel or an aneurysm in the brain bursts. The extra blood in the brain causes swelling and pressure and may cause lasting effects similar to those related to an ischemic stroke.
While there are similarities between a heart attack and heart failure, there are also important differences. Unlike a heart attack which comes on suddenly when an artery is blocked or narrows, heart failure develops slowly. The heart is a muscle and when that muscle is weakened, it is gradually less able to pump the blood your body needs. Heart failure, or acute heart failure, can develop rapidly after a heart attack. And strangely enough, your chances of recovery are better than if the disease develops over time.
Arrhythmia is also referred to as an abnormal heartbeat. It is caused by the heart beating either too quickly, too slowly, or irregularly. If the heart does not beat consistently in a regular pattern, it can result in a heart attack or a stroke. Other organs may also be affected if your heartbeat is irregular.
Heart Valve Disease
The heart has four valves, which open and close to enable proper blood flow through the heart. If one or more valves fail to close or if there is blood leakage because the value does not close properly, the result may be heart failure, stroke, or blood clots.
High Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure measures the force of the blood pumping from your heart into your blood vessels. If you have high blood pressure or hypertension, it means your heart has to pump harder to push the blood into your blood vessels. If your blood pressure remains high, you could have a heart attack, stroke, or heart failure.
What Is the Impact on Your Lifestyle and Ability to Work?
A heart condition can seriously inhibit your ability to lead a normal life, including the ability to work. For example, if a stroke results in trouble walking or talking, fatigue, or difficulty breathing, chances are you will not be able to return to work.
If the symptoms of heart disease or disability following a stroke or heart attack prevent you from working, you may be eligible for long-term disability benefits. Your insurance company will ask for proof of your condition and how it prevents you from working. They typically require the following:
- Medical test results showing abnormalities in the heart
- Physical examination
- Exercise tolerance tests
- Diagnostic tests such as electrocardiograms
- Medication you are taking
- Restrictions or limitations
One difficulty that can arise when applying for long-term disability benefits is if your test results show that your heart is normal following heart surgery. You may still have lingering symptoms such as fatigue. Your physician may issue restrictions on what activities you may or may not do. Depending on your level of education and work experience, both your symptoms and these restrictions could severely limit you from keeping a steady job.
We Can Help You With an LTD Claim
If you are having difficulty applying for benefits or if you receive a denial of benefits, we can help you prepare for and file a claim for long-term disability benefits. To learn more about what heart conditions qualify for disability and how an attorney can help, contact CJ Henry Law Firm PLLC today.