Social Security Claims For Pulmonary Disorders
Breathing is a crucial function of the human body. Anything that interferes with breathing threatens the very life of the individual. Symptoms caused by chronic pulmonary impairments include shortness of breath (dyspnea), coughing, wheezing, phlegm production, chest pain and fatigue. Lung disease includes a laundry list of illnesses, the most major of which are:
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) also known as “chronic obstructive lung disease” includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema; often both conditions occur together. Smoking is a major cause of COPD.
- Chronic Bronchitis – inflammation and scarring of the lining of the airways that connect the windpipe to the lungs.
- Emphysema – progressive damage to the air sacs inside the lungs; symptoms of emphysema include cough, shortness of breath, and limited tolerance for exercise
Other common conditions and diseases that affect the lungs include:
- Asthma – a chronic disease in which the insides of the smaller airways become inflamed or swollen, narrowing these airways and causing periodic episodes of wheezing and difficulty breathing (asthma attacks).
- Cystic Fibrosis – an inherited disease of the body’s mucus and sweat producing glands; mucus accumulates in the lungs and causes frequent infections and breathing difficulties, eventually causing permanent damage to the lungs.
- Lung Cancer – a condition characterized by uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells; the most common type is almost always caused by smoking.
- Pneumonia – general term for infection that occurs in the lung, can have a number of causes, including bacteria and viruses.
- Tuberculosis – an infection caused by a particular type of bacteria that primarily affects the lungs; the bacteria can damage the lungs by creating an area of inflammation in which tissue is destroyed.
There are many other pulmonary impairments, conditions and diseases including, but not limited to: diffuse pulmonary fibrosis, interstitial fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, recurrent thromboembolic disease, pulmonary vasculitis, pulmonary heart disease (cor pulmonale), black lung disease (pneumoconiosis), bronchiectasis, recurrent chronic persistent lung infections, lung transplant residuals and chronic restrictive ventilator disease. Sleep-related breathing disorders including obstructive sleep apnea is also considered a pulmonary impairment. All lung diseases together comprise the third leading killer in the U.S. They are also a leading cause of disability.
Documentation of pulmonary impairments and disorders includes MRIs, CAT scans, breathing tests including pulmonary function studies (spirometries), and other diffusing lung capacity measurement tests.
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