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Facts about Cushing's Syndrome and Filing for Disability


How to prove you are disabled
and win disability benefits


 
1. Cushing’s syndrome is the result of too much of cortisol (a hormone) in the body, either due to the body producing excess amounts or from taking corticosteroid medications to control the symptoms of another condition.

2. Cushing’s syndrome causes a fat buildup in the stomach and between the shoulders, an exaggerated round face shape, and stretch marks that look purple or pink.

3. Cushing’s syndrome may cause emotional problems such as anxiety, depression and irritability, skin that breaks easily and heals slowly, loss of menstruation in women and erectile dysfunction in men, high blood pressure and sometimes diabetes.

4. Cortisol’s purpose in the body is to regulate blood pressure and the cardiovascular system, as well as control stress response, and metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats into energy.

5. The body may overproduce cortisol if there is a problem with the pituitary or adrenal glands, or if a tumor forms that produces the hormone.

6. Taking a medication form of cortisol may be necessary to control symptoms related to inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, lupus and asthma. When an individual receives an organ from a donor, these medications are used to keep the body's immune system from rejecting the donor organ. When this medication is taken over an extended period of time, cortisol can build up in the body and cause Cushing’s syndrome.

7. The symptoms of Cushing's syndrome can present themselves like other conditions, including polycystic ovary syndrome in women, major depression, an eating disorder or alcoholism. This sometimes makes the condition difficult to diagnose.

8. Cushing's syndrome can potentially cause death, but typically diagnosis and beginning treatment will prevent further problems. If medication is the cause, a doctor can help slowly reduce the amount of corticosteroids used. Surgery and radiation therapy are treatments of choice if a tumor is the cause. There are also prescription medications that limit production of cortisol.


Can you qualify for disability benefits with this condition?

Whether or not you qualify for disability and, as a result, are approved for disability benefits will depend entirely on the information obtained from your medical records. This includes whatever statements may have been obtained from your treating physician (a doctor who has a history of treating your condition and is, therefore, qualified to comment as to your condition and prognosis).

It will also depend on the information obtained from your vocational, or work, history if you are an adult, or academic records if you are a minor-age child. The important thing to keep in mind is that the social security administration does not award benefits based on simply having a condition, but, instead, will base an approval or denial on the extent to which a condition causes functional limitations. Functional limitations can be great enough to make work activity not possible (or, for a child, make it impossible to engage in age-appropriate activities).

Why are so many disability cases lost at the disability application and reconsideration appeal levels?

Speaking as a former Disability Claims Examiner, I can state that there are several reasons:

1) Social Security makes no attempt to obtain a statement from a claimant's treating physician. By contrast, at the hearing level, a claimant and his or her disability attorney will generally obtain and present this type of statement to a judge;

2) Prior to the hearing level, a claimant will not have the opportunity to explain how their condition limits them, nor will their attorney or representative have the opportunity to make a presentation based on the evidence of the case. At the hearing level, of course, this is exactly what happens. And a number of disability representatives will also take such steps even earlier, at the reconsideration appeal level;

3) Disability judges, unlike disability examiners who decides cases at the first two levels of the system, can make independent decisions without being overturned by immediate supervisors--which happens frequently.















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Information on the following topics can be found here: Social Security Disability Questions

Social Security Disability SSI decisions | The Disability Decision Process and What gets taken into Consideration | Getting Denied for Disability Benefits | Questions about Social Security Disability Approvals and Being Approved | Social Security Disability Hearings | Social Security Medical Examinations | Social Security SSI Doctors | Social Security Disability Representation | Social Security Disability SSI Reviews