Stomach pain and bloating can be a nuisance when trying to work, but there are some times that it might be impossible to concentrate at work, leaving some people to stay at home. Undiagnosed illnesses can keep people at home even if there’s a solution to their problems. People with celiac disease might be ill for months or years before they understand why they’re feeling ill. During that time, they might not be able to work, which can make it difficult to pay bills. Anyone who is interested in receiving disability benefits for celiac disease that wasn’t diagnosed for at least a year should learn more about the condition and the steps that they need to apply for disability benefits through the SSA.
What Is Celiac Disease?
Celiac disease is a condition in which the body can’t process gluten correctly. This disease is also sometimes referred to as a gluten intolerance, and the disease is actually an autoimmune response.
Almost anyone can have celiac disease, but there are some factors that play a role in who has this disorder and who doesn’t. First of all, it’s believed that genetics play a strong role in the condition, but there are also some environmental factors that might make some people more prone to this disease.
When a person has a gluten intolerance, the gluten damages the villi, which are hair-like projections in the gut that absorb nutrients. Without villi, the stomach is not able to absorb enough nutrients to care for the body.
Some people also wonder if infant feeding practices and gut bacteria might play a role. Researchers have also noticed that celiac disease symptoms sometimes first appear during or after pregnancy in the mother, surgery, viral infection, and severe emotional distress.
Other risk factors for developing celiac disease include Down’s syndrome, Turner’s syndrome, Addison’s disease, type 1 diabetes, microscopic colitis, an autoimmune thyroid disease, or having a family member that either has celiac disease or dermatitis herpetiformis.
When a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, it’s of utmost importance that they eliminate all gluten from their diet. That’s why some people go to support groups. And people will need support from family and friends, especially if they live with the person with celiac disease.
Symptoms of Celiac Disease
The exact symptoms that people experience tend to be somewhat dependent on the age of the person with the disease. For instance, adults tend to exhibit symptoms like bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and constipation.
But there are some adults that experience symptoms that are completely unrelated to the digestive system. For instance, some people will experience anemia, loss of bone density and bone softening, blistery and itchy skin rashes, headaches and fatigue, mouth ulcers, headache and fatigue, joint pain, reduced spleen functioning, and nervous system impairment, which leads to problems with balance, tingling in the hands and feet, and possibly cognitive impairment.
Children are more likely than adults to experience a range of symptoms that involve the digestive system. Some of them are very similar to the experiences of adults, but a few of them tend to be more common in children. Additionally, children are likely to experience certain types of complications because they’re not absorbing the nutrients.
Nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, gas, and bloating are all common symptoms in children, but some children might also have pale stools that are particularly foul smelling.
Children will often experience weight loss, anemia, irritability, damage to tooth enamel, delayed puberty, short stature, and neurological conditions, such as ADHD, learning disabilities, headaches, lack of muscle coordination, and seizures. Additionally, infants might experience failure to thrive.
Treatment for Celiac Disease
The majority of the treatment will consist of changing the diet so that gluten is no longer consumed by the patient. Some of the foods that will need to be cut out include wheat, barley, bulgur, durum, farina, graham flour, malt, rye, spelt, and semolina.
In addition to obvious sources of gluten, people with gluten need to be aware that gluten is in less obvious sources of food and non-food products. For instance, lay dough, lipsticks, toothpaste, mouthwash, communion wafers, envelope and stamp glue, vitamin and mineral supplements, over-the-counter and prescription drugs, and some types of modified food starches, food preservatives, and food stabilizers can also contain gluten.
Removing all forms of gluten from the diet is extremely important because even small amounts can be harmful even if there aren’t any symptoms present.
Some people might also be more prone to anemia and other mineral deficiencies, and there are some things that people can do to help get themselves the nutrition that they need. For instance, some people might need to take iron, copper, folate, B12, vitamin D, vitamin K, and zinc.
Some foods that are approved for people with celiac disease to eat include corn, eggs, fruits, lentils, nuts, potatoes, vegetables, and most dairy products. More specifically, grains and starches that are approved include cornmeal, rice, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, and gluten-free flours.
There are also people who will need to take some forms of medication to control inflammation while the intestines heal. For instance, some people might have to take steroids if their small intestines are particularly damaged or they have refractory celiac disease. Finally, some people might have to take a medication to control dermatitis herpetiformis.
Disability Benefits for Celiac Disease
More often than not, people who are diagnosed as having celiac disease will not be eligible for benefits because starting on a gluten-free diet should clear up the symptoms so that the patient can lead a healthy and comfortable life. But there are some instances in which the person might be eligible for disability benefits.
One of the first instances that makes it possible to get benefits is if it incapacitated the applicant for more than a year before they figured out the problem. For instance, if it took a very long time for doctors to be able to diagnose the disease, the applicant might have been out of work for several months or even more than a year. If the person was unable to go to work for a year, there might be a case to be made.
Some people might also qualify for benefits if they have symptoms that are equal to that of another gastrointestinal disease. For instance, IBS and gastrointestinal hemorrhaging both have listings, and it might be possible to get benefits if the applicant had symptoms that were similar in intensity and type to one of these two diseases.
Yet another option is to check to see if the applicant might be eligible using the residual functional capacity test. In this assessment, the patient works with the doctor to make a list of all of the limitations that the condition places upon the patient. Then, they send that list to the SSA, which will look at the applicant’s previous jobs and compare the requirements of the jobs to the list of limitations to determine whether or not there’s work that the applicant would be able to do.
How We Can Help
There are several ways in which the team at Osterhout Berger Disability Law can help you receive the benefit you deserve. We help individuals who need to…
- Apply for Social Security Benefits and want to ensure everything is done right the first time
- Appeal a denial of Social Security Disability Benefits
- Appeal an existing denial of Long Term Disability (LTD) Benefits
If you are facing one of these situations due to Celiac Disease, please do not hesitate in reaching out. Our team of experienced attorneys are here to help, and your consultation is free.