Higher Hospitalization Rates for Lupus Interfere with Ability to Work

September 15, 2014

When patients with lupus are admitted into a hospital for treatment of their symptoms, they may have a much higher risk of being readmitted back into the hospital within 30 days after discharge. According to a new study, as many as one in six hospitalized patients with lupus require a readmission.

One factor that contributes to the high readmission rates is the severity of the symptoms. However, there may be other factors involved. According to researchers, it is possible to reduce the risk of a readmission after hospitalization by planning the patient's discharge better, and by addressing differences in post-discharge treatment.

Patients who suffer from lupus very often find themselves needing hospitalization. This is a condition in which the human body faces an attack by the immune system. Lupus is one of those medical conditions about which much remains unknown, which in turn makes treatment options challenging. This much is known about Lupus, however; there are genetic factors that can increase the likelihood of developing the condition.

Most treatments for Lupus involve drugs that help suppress the immune system. However, as can be expected when you try to suppress the immune system, there are a number of side effects involved, and many of them can have devastating consequences. People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to suffer from the condition, which indicates that environmental and psychosocial factors are also at work here.

Persons who suffer from lupus may be eligible for Social Security Disability Benefits. This is one of the conditions that are included in the Social Security Administration's listing of impairments that are eligible for disability benefits. However, your lupus must be sufficiently severe for you to qualify for benefits.

Scientists Uncover Genes for Bipolar Disorder

September 8, 2014

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depressive, is a chronic mental illness, which is believed to affect as many as 1.6% of the general American population. There is much that we do not know about this difficult psychiatric condition.

For years, scientists have been researching whether a person's genes could play a contributing factor in the development of bipolar disorder. German researchers recently said that they have managed to identify unique genes that could possibly contribute to the condition.

According to the researchers, it seems that a variety of genes are involved in the development of bipolar disorder, and it's not just one specific gene that causes the development of the condition. These genes interact with environmental factors in a complex manner to cause symptoms of the condition. A person who suffers from bipolar disorder often suffers from alternate spells of mania and depression, or highs and lows. He may suffer from sleeplessness, insomnia, irritability, and may engage in risky behaviors involving alcohol, drug and sex.

The findings came from an analysis comparing more than 2,200 patients who suffer from bipolar disorder to more than 5, 000 people in the control group without bipolar disorder. The researchers identified five gene regions that were connected to the condition.

Bipolar Disorder and Social Security Disability Benefits

Several types of mental and psychiatric conditions qualify for Social Security disability benefits. For instance, a person who suffers from chronic depression or clinical depression as well severe symptoms of bipolar disorder could under certain circumstances be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.

If you suffer from bipolar disorder and want to want to know more about how you can qualify for benefits, speak to Atlanta Social Security disability benefits lawyer Lisa Siegel. Most people who suffer from bipolar disorder will end up filing a claim for Social Security disability benefits. Unfortunately, all claims are not approved. An attorney can help you determine the viability of your claim and worth through the process of securing disability benefits.

Feds Approve Treatment for Persons with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

September 2, 2014

The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new treatment for the respiratory condition called Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

According to the FDA, patients who suffer from this often deadly ailment now have a new tool with which to treat symptoms. The medication is delivered via inhaler, with a spray called Striverdi Respimat and the active ingredient known as olodaterol. It is believed that the drug works by relaxing the airway muscles in the lungs. The drug is often prescribed to be taken once a day, and can be used over a prolonged period of time.

The FDA has conducted testing of the medication, including comparison with a placebo. More than 3,000 people with a diagnosis of COPD were included in the study. Those who used the inhaler were compared to a control group that took a placebo. The researchers found that those who were on the medication exhibited improved lung function compared to those who were on the placebo

However, the medication may not be for everyone. People who suffer from COPD that is in a state of rapid progression should avoid taking the drug. In these people, the medication could actually cause complications, including cardiac problems. It is also not recommended for people who suffer from asthma, or people who suffer from any kind of sudden breathing problems.

Before taking any medication, it is important to consult with your doctor.

COPD is included in the Social Security impairment listing. If you suffer from COPD, and would like to learn about your options for disability benefits, call attorney Lisa Siegel today.

Seniors Facing Inconvenience with Increased Social Security Office Closures

August 21, 2014

Baby boomers may be most in need of Social Security payments. However, seniors are likely to find it more and more difficult to apply for disability benefits, or appeal rejected disability claims, because many Social Security offices around the country are facing closure.

The Social Security Administration blames budget crunches and shortage of resources for this increased number of closures. The agency has been closing down a record number of offices. As a result, more and more seniors are being forced to go online to get help for their Social Security benefits claims, instead of walking into an office.

Since 2010, the Social Security Administration has closed down 64 field offices across the country. That is the largest number of such office closures over a five-year period in the agency's history. The agency has also decided to close down 533 temporary mobile offices that were specifically situated to serve claimants in remote areas.

There are only approximately 1,235 field offices that are still open, but in many of them, hours have been reduced, so that the agency can continue to maintain these offices while maintaining control over its finances.

A congressional report criticizes the agency's position, and specifically calls into question the criteria for making the decision to close down field offices. It recognizes that these closures have the hardest impact on seniors because less are likely to use online services.

Body Vibration Therapy May Benefit Fibromyalgia Patients

July 1, 2014

Patients with fibromyalgia may benefit from a new therapy that involves whole-body vibration exercise.

Whole-body vibration exercise is not new, and has been used for the treatment of symptoms of fibromyalgia syndrome. However, research on the effectiveness of this therapy in treating this painful condition has been sporadic. Now, however, scientists from Indiana University have announced the results of a pilot study which they say indicates that the therapy is very promising in treating symptoms of fibromyalgia.
As part of the study, patients who suffered from fibromyalgia were asked to sit, stand, and lay on a machine that came with a vibrating platform. When the machine was turned on, the vibrations caused the patient's muscles to contract and relax. Subjects reported a significant alleviation of muscular pain.

According to researchers, what is really beneficial about this therapy is that it encourages patients to exercise who otherwise would avoid it because of the accompanying pain. When patients who have fibromyalgia avoid exercise, it only leads to weight gain, and also leads to other conditions that can only worsen symptoms. Those conditions include type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension.
More studies are needed to further confirm the benefits of this whole-body vibration exercise. However, the study seems to indicate that patients did report and experience better strength, increased muscular spasticity, and reduced pain.

Symptoms of fibromyalgia appear because of a disconnect between the nerves and the brain. About 5 million American adults currently suffer from symptoms of fibromyalgia that include severe pain, stiffness in the morning, and sleep disorders.

Child Victims of Gun Crimes and Social Security Benefits

June 12, 2014

Georgia recently became the most gun-friendly state in the country when a piece of legislation became law that allows people to take guns into schools, bars and churches.

Governor Nathan Deal recently signed the bill, officially allowing licensed gun owners in the Peach State to carry their weapons everywhere in the state, except the Capitol Building. So if you enter a church, bar, school, or even Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, there are likely to be people carrying guns around you. The law, called the Safe Carry Protection Act of 2014, allows people to carry almost everywhere, but also permits local businesses to decide whether they want to allow guns on their property.

The most debated part of this legislation is that which involves guns inside schools. Even if a school decides to choose not to allow guns inside campus, there are likely to be bitter and very acrimonious debates and lawsuits involving the issue of guns in classrooms.

According to data published in the journal Pediatrics, the majority of child gunshot injuries involve intentional assault with a firearm. More than 4,500 gunshot injuries are the result of intentional assault. Roughly 2,000 are accidental injuries, and 270 are the result of suicide attempts. Typically, the kinds of injuries that result from such gun violence are fractures, open wounds, heavy bleeding or catastrophic brain or spinal injuries. The challenges the United States faces with respect to gun violence is significant, with a fatality rate for gun violence that is approximately 10 times the rate in other developed countries.

Social security disability benefits can be available to families who must care for a child injured by a gun or other weapon. The most important thing you can do after a tragic event involving injury to a child is plan for their future physical and emotional needs. It's not easy, but it's an important step in making sure your child and your family are cared for.

Drinking Milk Could Slow Progression of Arthritis in Women

May 27, 2014

Persons who suffer from debilitating knee arthritis may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits if the pain impairs their ability to work and earn a living.

Something as simple as drinking six glasses of milk per week could actually help slow down the progression of painful and disabling knee arthritis in women. According to new research that was funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NIH), women who drink more quantities of low fat and fat-free milk see a slower progression of knee arthritis. However, the same results were not seen when men drank the same amount of milk. Furthermore, women in the study did not see the same types of benefits when they consumed other dairy products, such as yogurt or cheese.

Researchers were looking at the effect of dairy products on the progression of knee arthritis, a fairly common form of osteoarthritis, which affects nearly 27 million Americans above the age of 25. Women tend to be much more frequent victims of knee arthritis, which can lead to consistent and disabling pain. The study analyzed more than 1,200 women and monitored the progression of knee arthritis in these women when they consumed significant quantities of milk.

Researchers believe that the fact that estrogen is closely linked to bone health may help explain why consumption of milk benefits females much more than it does males. Similarly, cheese is high in some unhealthy fats, which also may explain why knee arthritis symptoms were accelerated because of cheese consumption.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Linked to Kidney Disease

May 9, 2014

Persons who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may experience a number of symptoms including swelling, pain and fatigue that may prevent them from standing for long periods of time, or performing certain routine activities. A new study finds that persons who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis may actually be at a much higher risk for suffering kidney disease.

The study which was conducted at Mayo Clinic focused on 813 people who had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, and compared them with another group of people who did not suffer from the condition. They found that over a period of 20 years, persons who suffered from rheumatoid arthritis had a 25% risk of developing chronic kidney disease. In the general population, the risk was 20%. According to researchers, that may not seem like a statistically significant disparity, but it is quite a big difference, and creates serious implications for the management of rheumatoid arthritis.

Typically, a person who suffers from rheumatoid arthritis may suffer from stiffness of the joints because of inflammation. In fact, this is a hallmark characteristic of this condition, and the stiffened joints make the upper and lower extremities difficult to use. Apart from stiffness, patients may also suffer from chronic pain and severe fatigue, both of which affect their ability to work. Approximately one out of three people who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis leave their jobs.

If you suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and believe you are eligible for disability benefits, call Atlanta Social Security disability benefits attorney Lisa Siegel.

New Non-Surgical Treatment for Knee Arthritis Show Promising Signs

April 28, 2014

Knee osteoarthritis causes chronic pain, stiffness, and difficulty in walking, often making it challenging for individuals to perform routine activities. As a result, going back to work may not be an option for persons with this medical condition. Now, researchers have announced a new non-surgical technique to treat the pain and stiffness that accompanies knee osteoarthritis.

The technique has been developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. According to researchers, they have experimented with a two-solution treatment, which involves a series of injections that are administered to the knee region. This therapy is called prolotherapy, and the results of the study were recently published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

Researchers reported substantial improvement in symptoms in a group of participants who were monitored over a one year period. During the testing time, participants received at least three of the two-solution injections. The researchers found that there was an improvement in symptoms varying from 19.5% to 42.9% compared to the person's original status.

Additionally, researchers reported that there was improvement in pain, function and stiffness beyond the minimum clinically important difference in approximately 50% to 75% of the patients.

There is no separate category for knee osteoarthritis for a person to be eligible for Social Security disability benefits. However, if the condition has proven to be so severe that the person suffers from regular, chronic and severe pain or stiffness, and is not able to stand, walk or perform important routine activities that are essential to the performing of his job, he may be eligible for benefits.

New Research Focuses on Enhanced Outcomes for Shoulder Surgery

April 15, 2014

Rotator cuff injuries are shoulder injuries that can lead to severe pain and chronic disability. Very often, surgery is recommended for persons who have suffered serious rotator cuff tears, but these surgeries also have high failure rates, especially when they involve very large tears, or older patients. Now, researchers are trying to understand exactly how these muscles and tendons attach to each other, in order to possibly develop engineered tissues that could help to improve outcomes for rotator cuff repair surgeries.

The rotator cuff refers to a combination of bones, muscles and tendons in the shoulder, which play a prominent role in helping the person move his or her shoulder freely. However, these muscles and tendons may be at a higher risk of injury due to aging- related wear and tear, repetitive stress in the workplace, a fall, or any other type of shoulder injury. Sometimes, these injuries occur as a result of severe shoulder dislocation.

A person who suffers from a rotator cuff injury often suffers from severe pain, which may range from a deep, dull ache, to constant pain that makes it difficult for him or her to lie down on the affected side. There may be limited range of mobility in the shoulder, and that may make it difficult for the person to raise his arms high. There may be muscle fatigue or weakness. If the pain is consistent or severe, the person may simply find it easier to not move the shoulder at all. Obviously, such pain can severely impact the person's ability to perform routine activities, especially workplace activities.

Shoulder injuries are some of the most common musculoskeletal injuries. Obtaining Social Security disability benefits when you have a shoulder injury depends very heavily on the kind of functional limitations that your injuries involve, or how badly they affect your ability to work.

Reconstructive Knee Surgery Linked to Higher Risk of Arthritis

April 7, 2014

Persons, who have undergone knee reconstruction surgery to repair knee ligaments are much more likely to develop arthritis in the affected knee. According to the results of a new study that was released by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, persons who have undergone knee reconstructive surgery are three times more likely to develop knee arthritis in the repaired knee, compared to the uninjured knee.

Knee arthritis is also referred to as osteoarthritis of the knee, a condition in which the cartilage on the bones begins to wear down. Earlier studies have also found that osteoarthritis is very often linked to knees that have undergone a reconstructive surgery, but the amount of risk was not determined.

The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons estimates that approximately 200,000 anterior cruciate ligament injuries occur in the country every year. Very often, the surgeons treat injured knees by replacing the torn ligament with a replacement graft. Surgeons believe that between 10 and 15 years after the reconstruction is generally when patients begin to suffer symptoms of knee arthritis.

However, reconstruction surgery is not the only factor linked to osteoarthritis. There can be other factors that are linked to this debilitating knee condition, including excessive weight. Persons who have sustained multiple injuries to their knees may also be at a much higher risk of developing knee arthritis.

If you suffer from knee osteoarthritis or knee arthritis, you may be eligible for Social Security benefits depending on the amount of lost functionality as a result of your condition and other factors. If the lack of movement and motion, and pain associated with arthritis prevents you from performing routine tasks and working to earn a living, contact a disability lawyer today to discuss your situation.

Hormones May Provide Relief from Chronic Pain

March 24, 2014

Persons who suffer from chronic pain may find that their symptoms are so extreme that they are unable to perform normal, routine day-to-day activities. According to a small study conducted recently, a combination of two hormones could provide some relief to people who suffer from such chronic pain.

The study was conducted on nine patients, who were given doses of oxytocin and human chorionic gonadotropin. The researchers found that seven out of the 9 patients, reported a decrease in pain of up to 40% after using the hormone combination. In addition, the levels of painkillers that these patients needed in order to deal with the chronic pain also dropped by as much as 40%. The patients also reported that there was a much longer time period between flare-ups of pain, and much lower pain intensity.

This was a very small study of nine patients, and therefore the findings are not conclusive enough to actually confirm whether this combination of hormones could actually have a long-term positive effect in controlling chronic pain. Researchers say that their next step will be to study whether these hormones could act as an alternative treatment for chronic pain.

Often times, persons who qualify for Social Security disability benefits are those whose ailments or medical conditions may not be visible from the outside, or may not include external symptoms. For example, persons who suffer from chronic pain may look perfectly healthy, and may not even be able to pinpoint the exact cause of the pain. But that doesn't mean they are symptom free.

Chronic pain is not listed as a separate category by the Social Security Administration for benefits, but patients who suffer from chronic pain may be eligible for benefits if their symptoms closely mirror a condition that is included in the listings.

Growing Incidence of Hip Pain Among Young Patients Raises Risk of Disability

February 17, 2014

Chronic hip pain that is so serious that a person is no longer able to stand or walk now affects many young persons. In fact, researchers recently found a growing incidence of hip pain, or hip impingement, among younger people.

The study was conducted by hip experts at The Ohio State University, and they found that they are seeing an increase in the number of young persons with hip impingement. The experts stated that the ages of these patients range all the way from those in their teens through 60s.

This condition is very frequently seen among young persons who are active and play sports. In many cases these injuries tend to be sports-related, and although the incidence of such hip impingement or chronic pain is also evident in non-athletes, the incidence seems to be higher among those persons who were active round and going through puberty.

The reason for this is simple. During puberty, the hip growth plate fuses, and when a person participates in active sports, it causes the hip to be fused abnormally.
Femoral acetabular impingement of the hip is a risky condition, because if not treated adequately and in time, it can lead to the development of arthritis. Eventually, the person may also need a hip joint replacement.

The condition is even more hazardous, because it is often misdiagnosed, and symptoms often mirror symptoms found in other conditions. Typically, symptoms include lower back pain, and pain in the side of the hip and buttocks. The person may suffer from such chronic pain that he or she is no longer able to walk, which of course affects his or her ability to work later in life.

Federal Watchdog Group Calls on SSA to Strengthen Death Information Procedures

January 30, 2014

A new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found deficiencies in the manner in which the Social Security Administration (SSA) collects death information and shares it with other government agencies.

Death information is a strong tool that helps keep federal benefit checks from going to the deceased. However, according to GAO, current methods used by the Social Security Administration encourage the production of inaccurate, incomplete, and untimely information. In fact, according to the report, approximately 1.2 million deceased recipients of SSA retirement benefits were not included in the final tally. Inaccurate information like this could result in other agencies that rely on the information making improper payments to the deceased.

The GAO report is also questioning the federal agency's system in place for sharing such information with other federal agencies. For instance, recently, one senator asked that SSA officials change its policy of charging other agencies for accessing data records. Social Security officials insist that the agency must be reimbursed for the cost of furnishing such information to other federal agencies.

The Government Accountability Office is asking the Social Security Administration to furnish death information, and make the reason for the costs of this reimbursement more easily accessible to other agencies. The GAO report recommends that the SSA assess the risks that are associated with its current information-sharing systems, as well as share detailed reimbursement estimates. The SSA has agreed to both of those recommendations.

Exercise Effective Therapy to Treat Back Pain

January 21, 2014

Back pain is one of the most problematic medical conditions in the United States, and is linked to thousands of cases of severe disability. The simple truth is that the back is necessary for almost all work-related activities, and having problems in that area of the body almost always has a negative impact on other areas. However, in spite of the fact that millions of Americans suffer from this debilitating condition, there are very few therapies that have been found to consistently work. While surgeries and painkillers are prescribed in most cases, very often, people continue to suffer from pain in spite of these treatments.

Over the past few years, experts have been more inclined to recommend other less expensive treatments that may actually help treat back pain better than more expensive options, like surgery. To find relief, some patients with back pain are now encouraged to attend "pain boot camps," where they are basically trained to help them deal with their pain. Routine exercise is one method that is focused-on in these training sessions.

However, it is important to understand that there are cases of serious and chronic pain in which people may simply not be able to withstand the pain, or mentally block it out. In cases where people suffer from such debilitating pain, they may barely be able to get out of bed and move about on a bad day, let alone go to work. In these cases, disability benefits may be the only way to provide for the most necessary living expenses. This is why the SSDI and SSI systems exist.