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Heart Disease and Social Security Disability

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February is American Heart Month. Sponsored by the American Heart Association, the observance is intended to promote awareness of heart disease and the toll it takes on American society. More important, American Heart Month promotes strategies for improving outcomes and highlighting changes individuals can make to prevent heart disease.

Given the prevalence of heart disease in the United States, it is not surprising that cardiac conditions cause many workers to stop working and seek disability benefits. Heart failure (cardiomyopathy), coronary artery disease and high blood pressure are common reasons why people apply for Social Security Disability (SSD).

The symptoms of cardiomyopathy include shortness of breath, fatigue, weakness, palpitations, dizziness, enlargement of the heart and swelling of the legs and feet. It is usually the result of past heart attacks, uncontrolled or only partially controlled high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, inflammation of the heart muscle, or congenital heart defects. All of these result in the heart being unable to pump enough blood, giving rise to the symptoms of congestive heart failure.

The symptoms of coronary artery disease include chest pain, shortness of breath, fast heartbeat, weakness, dizziness, nausea and increased sweating. Coronary artery disease is the primary cause of heart attacks in both men and women. Men over the age of 50 with a family history of heart disease are most likely to suffer heart attacks as a result of coronary artery disease, but younger men and older women are also vulnerable.

The symptoms of high blood pressure are often not felt by patients. Although one in three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure, many people are not aware of their condition until a routine doctor visit - usually for something else - reveals high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Extreme hypertension can cause severe headache, confusion, vision problems, chest pain, breathing problems, irregular heartbeat or blood in the urine. People with these symptoms should visit a doctor right away. Untreated high blood pressure can damage the heart muscle and circulatory system and is a leading cause of heart attack.

If you can no longer work because of heart disease, you may be eligible for SSD benefits. However, documenting heart disease to the satisfaction of the Social Security Administration can be challenging. If you suffer from heart disease that leaves you unable to work but are having problems with your application for SSD benefits, do what so many others have done since 1975. Call Binder & Binder®, America's most successful Social Security Disability advocates. Tell them your story and find out how they can help you get the benefits you need and deserve.

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,"February is American Heart Month," Feb. 4, 2014.

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