The human circulatory system works to ensure a supply of oxygen and nutrients is transported to tissues throughout the body. Blood picks up oxygen at the lungs, and the heart propels oxygenated blood through the arteries. As smaller blood vessels branch off the arteries, the blood gives up its oxygen to living tissues and collects carbon dioxide and other waste products. Tiny blood vessels called capillaries join together like streams feeding a river—but in this case, the “river” is the network of veins that carry the blood back from remote parts of the body to the lungs and the heart, to start the cycle again.
When something acts to dam up this healthy circulation pattern, it’s bad news. Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is one type of dire obstruction.
Understanding Peripheral Artery Disease
The villain in the story of peripheral artery disease is atherosclerosis, once called “hardening of the arteries.” It’s the buildup of fatty deposits called plaque along the walls of arteries. These plaques narrow the diameter of blood vessels, increasing blood pressure and reducing blood flow to the extremities. Atherosclerosis is associated with elevated risks of stroke and heart attacks, but one of the primary effects is that the cells in arms, legs, hands, and feet begin to starve from the lack of the usual supply of oxygen and nutrients. This cell starvation is what we know as peripheral artery disease.
Many people suffering from PAD will show no unusual symptoms. However, pain is the primary sign of damaged arteries for most people. The pain may be constant, or may show up only during periods of rest or exercise. The pain may be accompanied by feelings of weakness or cold in the limbs.
Other typical symptoms include
- Changes in the color of the skin
- Changes in pulse in an affected limb
- Loss of hair along the affected limb
- Thickening and slower growth in the toenails or fingernails
- Wounds that heal slowly
Although PAD can affect any extremity, it is most often seen in the thighs, legs, calves, or feet. As a result of the pain and weakness associated with peripheral arterial disease, a person with PAD may not be able to stand or walk for extended periods, and may have difficulty sitting in place. When that discomfort interferes with basic activities such as holding down a job, the PAD patient may be eligible for Social Security disability benefits.
How Peripheral Arterial Disease Qualifies for a Disability Claim
Applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits is possible for people who have contributed to the SSDI fund through a long work history. But being a contributor is not enough by itself to qualify for benefits. The applicant will have to prove—by submitting extensive medical information—that he is substantially unable to work because of his PAD.
If you have received a PAD diagnosis and find yourself disabled by the disease, applying for disability benefits may be the right course for you. You should know from the outset, though, that almost 70 percent of applicants for SSDI benefits face denials when they apply the first time. Getting the assistance of a skilled SSDI advocate may make a crucial difference in qualifying for SSDI for peripheral artery disease. You are allowed to get help with your application or when you want to appeal a decision against you, and the aid of someone who understands both the Social Security system and the medical limitations from cardiovascular disease can be enormously beneficial.
That’s where Schmidt Kramer comes in. Our Social Security lawyers in Harrisburg have a sterling record for securing SSDI benefits for disabled clients in central Pennsylvania. We offer free case reviews and we never charge a representation fee unless we’re able to get you the benefits you deserve. Call us at 717-888-8888 or (717) 888-8888 toll-free to get working on your application or appeal.