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Social Security List of Conditions
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SSDRC authored by Tim Moore
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Asthma, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Asthma is a respiratory disease that is characterized by the constriction and narrowing of the airways to the lungs. During asthma these airways become inflamed and lined with mucus, making it difficult to breathe. Asthma is most often diagnosed during childhood and is constantly on the rise. Children in the United States have seen a seventy-five percent increase in asthma in recent decades. Six percent of children have been diagnosed in the United States. Risk factors for asthma include maternal smoking, low birth weight, premature birth, family history of the condition and viral respiratory infection.
When asthma becomes exacerbated it is known as an asthma attack. This attack can come on quite quickly, making it hard to breathe immediately. These attacks can be mild or life threatening.
Asthma is a complex disease and the causes are a mixture of genetic and environmental factors that are not completely understood. While there are many genes associated with asthma, mostly those related to the immune system and inflammation, asthma is most notably caused by environmental triggers. These triggers can range from pet dander, tobacco smoke, infection, dust to pollen, food allergies, strong perfumes, moist air, exertion or emotional stress. When exposed to these triggers, the large airways (or bronchi) spasm and become inflamed. The inflammation triggers excessive mucus production, which leads to breathing problems. Basically, this is an immune response to allergens that are inhaled.
When a trigger is not present, most patients with asthma feel normal and can breathe easily.
Signs of asthma are shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, tightness in the chest and an inability to breathe deeply and naturally. These symptoms may be controlled by pharmaceuticals which dilate and open up airways, called bronchodilators. These bronchodilators are most often found as an inhalant. Corticosteroids are the most popular treatment for asthma, due to their ability to regulate inflammation and reduce and treat asthma attacks.
During severe attacks there can be chest pain and loss of consciousness due to lack of oxygen. Even when an attack is quite severe, usually the patient can use a bronchodilator and be normal within minutes and not have another attack for a long period of time.
The best way to keep from experiencing asthma attacks is to determine and eliminate asthma triggers. This may mean quitting smoking, not being around second hand smoke, moving from an overly high trafficked area with severe exhaust fumes, not eating a certain food or not being around animals with pet dander, such as cats. Determining and eliminating triggers can cut down drastically on asthma attacks.
Cases of asthma are increasing worldwide, though it is very high in America. Many think this is due to excessive amounts of environmental pollution, from harsh chemicals in cleaning products to fuel exhaust. While most common in affluent countries, asthma is prominent all over the world and causes over 150,000 deaths annually.
Asthma is usually diagnosed by testing the airway restriction with a peak flow meter, looking at family medical history or simply by testing the patient on how they respond to bronchodilator treatment.
Return to: Social Security Disability Resource Center, or read answers to Questions
Related Body System Impairments:
Asthma and Filing for Disability
Asbestosis and Filing for Disability
Bronchiectasis and Filing for Disability
COPD and Filing for Disability
Cystic Fibrosis and Filing for Disability
Emphysema and Filing for Disability
Lung Disease and Filing for Disability
Pneumonia and Filing for Disability
Sarcoidosis and Filing for Disability
Sleep Apnea and Filing for Disability
Tuberculosis and Filing for Disability
COPD, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Asthma, Social Security Disability, and Applying for Benefits
Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions and in these subsections:
Frequently asked questions about getting Denied for Disability Benefits | FAQ on Disability Claim Representation | Info about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | FAQ on Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The SSD SSI Decision Process and what gets taken into consideration | Disability hearings before Judges | Medical exams for disability claims | Applying for Disability in various states | Selecting and hiring Disability Lawyers | Applying for Disability in North Carolina | Recent articles and answers to questions about SSD and SSI
These pages answer some of the most basic questions for individuals who are considering filing a claim.
Filing for disability - How to file for SSD or SSI and the Information that is needed by Social Security
How to Apply for Disability - What medical conditions can you apply and qualify for?
Applying for Disability - How long does it take to get Social Security Disability or SSI benefits?
What happens if I file a disability application and it is denied by a disability examiner or Judge?
How to Prove you are disabled and qualify to win disability benefits
How do you prove your disability case if you have a mental condition or impairment?
Social Security Disability Back pay and How Long it Takes to Qualify for it and receive it
Social Security Disability SSI - Eligibility Requirements and Qualifications Criteria