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Dallas Social Security Disability Law Blog

A carpal tunnel diagnosis doesn't mean you are out of options

Whether we realize it or not, many of us perform repetitive motions at our jobs day after day, sometimes doing the exact same activity -- typing, answering phones, driving, drilling, hammering, etc. -- for years on end.

While most of us experience no real consequences from this reality-- outside of perhaps a little bit of boredom -- others are not so lucky.

Indeed, everyone from office workers and nurses to truck drivers and machinists may someday be diagnosed with a condition known as carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition that can cause both weakness and loss of feeling in the hands, making it virtually impossible to pick up or even grasp objects. 

Study links rheumatoid arthritis to elevated risk of heart disease

Statistics from the American College of Rheumatology show that well over one million people here in the U.S., the majority of them women, suffer from rheumatoid arthritis.

For those unfamiliar with this systemic inflammatory disease, it affects the lining of the small joints in the hands and feet, resulting in a painful swelling that, according to the Mayo Clinic, can eventually result in joint deformity and even bone erosion.   

Interestingly, a recently released study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine found that those people diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or other conditions attributable to a malfunctioning immune system like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis are at an elevated risk of suffering a heart attack, cardiac arrest or stroke. 

November 2014 is American Diabetes Month

While most of us associate November with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, it's important to recognize that there is actually much more going on over the course of these 30 days, including an important initiative concerning a disabling condition affecting millions of Americans.

The initiative in question is American Diabetes Month, a program run by the American Diabetes Association that is designed to both promote understanding and help encourage those diagnosed with the condition stay healthy.  

MRI scans may be able to detect chronic fatigue syndrome

Because diagnosing chronic fatigue syndrome is so difficult, many people, including some doctors, do not believe it is real. People who feel exhausted no matter how much they try to sleep will seek medical help, but often be told their problems are all in their heads. Despite their symptoms being dismissed as hypochondria, these unfortunate people’s health problems persist until they finally receive the proper diagnosis.

Even doctors who know the illness exists may struggle to make a diagnosis, which currently can only be done by ruling out other disorders. That is because no blood test or brain scan can currently definitively detect chronic fatigue syndrome.

SSA announces 2015 COLA increase for benefits recipients

News announced earlier this week in Washington, D.C. by the Social Security Administration regarding scores of millions of benefits recipients was not exactly prefaced by a drum roll or loud clash of cymbals.

In fact, there was no drama or hyperbole at all preceding a benefits-related statement issued by the SSA. Rather, the news item delivered was issued in straightforward and understated terms.

The reason why: A 1.7 percent increase in recipients' monthly disability checks doesn't exactly amount to earth-shaking news.

Are disability benefits an option for those with schizophrenia?

While the exact cause or causes of schizophrenia are unknown, the effects the illness can have on a person's life are certainly well documented. From hallucinations and delusions to memory issues and trouble focusing, those living with schizophrenia -- or helping to care for someone with the illness -- know just how trying the brain disorder can be. 

In terms of mental health, our society has come a long way in terms of treatment. However, currently, none of these treatments cures someone from having schizophrenia. Rather, medications and treatments, such as self-help groups and cognitive behavioral therapy, are just some of the ways of coping with the symptoms. Again, there is no cure and schizophrenia is a lifelong, chronic illness.

This week is Mental Illness Awareness Week

There are a large number of individuals in Texas and the rest of the U.S. who have had the misfortune of experiencing a mental illness. Mental illnesses can come in many different shapes and sizes and such illnesses can change a person’s life in a vast number of ways.

There is a special focus being put on awareness of mental illness issues this week, as it is Mental Illness Awareness Week. This annual awareness week was brought into being by Congress back in 1990. This year’s Mental Illness Awareness Week got underway on Oct. 5 and will continue until Oct. 11.

What the Compassionate Allowances initiative means for you -- II

In the previous post, our blog discussed the unfortunate employment reality facing those people diagnosed with especially debilitating -- and possibly deadly -- medical conditions. Specifically, we addressed how the majority of these people will eventually be unable to work despite their best efforts and that this loss of income can make already stressful times that much more difficult.

However, we also examined how these people may be able to turn to the Social Security Administration's Compassionate Allowances initiative for much-needed assistance.

In today's post, we will continue to discuss the CAL initiative and how it helps those diagnosed with severe medical conditions.

Updating the qualifying CAL conditions

It is important to understand that the qualifying CAL conditions are not set in stone, and that the SSA plans to add new conditions to the list every year after careful consultation with both the National Institute of Health and other medical professionals.

What the Compassionate Allowances initiative means for you

It's hard to imagine just how devastating it can be when a person receives the news that they are suffering from an especially debilitating -- and possibly deadly -- medical condition from their physician.

While they will undoubtedly do everything they can to try to cure or manage their condition, the reality is that they probably won't be able to work and that this can become the source of unwanted stress during already difficult times.

The good news is that not only can people in these situations turn to the Social Security disability insurance program for possible relief, but that they may be eligible for something known as the Compassionate Allowances initiative.

In the next few posts, our blog will devote some time to discussing the CAL initiative and what it means for those with severe medical conditions.

Could a blood test be used to diagnose, monitor clinical depression?

Statistics show that clinical depression is a reality for more than 18 million people here in the U.S. What's perhaps even more staggering is that many medical experts have indicated that the methods for diagnosing clinical depression -- subjective observations of moods and behaviors coupled with firsthand patient information -- are not always effective.

Interestingly, this may all soon change for the better thanks to the efforts of researchers at Northwestern University who may have found a much easier way to not only diagnose clinical depression, but also determine whether cognitive behavioral therapy is working.

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