Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, or EDS, is a very rare condition affecting the connective tissue. Your connective tissue is exactly how it sounds. It is the tissue that provides support and structure to other tissues and organs in your body, connecting things together. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome impacts that connective tissue causing a multitude of problems. This condition is so rare, you may not have heard of it. EDS affects approximately 1 in 5,000 people worldwide.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is typically an inherited condition. It has also been seen in a very small amount of people without a family history. But for the most part the condition is inherited by a family member. Without going into too much detail regarding genetics, there are two main ways to inherit the EDS gene, either through autosomal dominant inheritance or autosomal recessive inheritance. Whichever way the gene is inherited it may impact the type of EDS you have. There are thirteen known types of EDS. The most common type of EDS is hypermobile, which stems from the dominant inheritance. Other less common types of EDS include classical EDS, vascular EDS, and kyphoscoliotic EDS. While there are thirteen types of EDS with different symptoms, there are three common symptoms that they all share including joint hypermobility, stretchy skin, and fragile skin that breaks or bruises easily. There is a long list of other symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome including bleeding, double-jointed, heart murmur, joint dislocation, muscle weakness, physical deformity, poor wound healing, and fatigue.
As with most conditions, the symptoms you experience are different for each person. One individual’s symptoms may be mild while another’s symptoms could be severe. Some of the more severe cases of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome can even be life-threatening. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you need to seek help from your medical provider immediately. General, you would present to your primary care provider or general practitioner, who would then refer you to a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist is someone who specializes in treating arthritis and another disease of the joints, muscles, and bones. Again, depending upon the severity of your symptoms, treatment recommendations may vary. Treatment recommendations may include medications to help with the pain and muscle spasms, physical therapy to address certain areas of the body or even surgical intervention.
Living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is not an easy thing, especially if you are experiencing symptoms. If you do have symptoms such as joint hypermobility or muscle weakness, your medical provider will likely recommend activity modifications such as avoiding heavy lifting or contact sports; wearing supportive braces; or how to conserve energy during activities.
If you are suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, and your symptoms are impacting your ability to engage in normal work activities, applying for social security disability benefits may be the right program for you. The social security disability program provides health insurance and financial assistance for those who have paid taxes into social security and are no longer able to work due to a medical condition. This is a federally mandated program set in place as a safety net for workers who find themselves unable to work for a minimum of 12 months due to a medical condition. In certain situations, if you have been working for an employer for a number of years, that employer may be accommodating your limitations. Even if your employer is accommodating your limitations you may still be qualified for the social security disability program.
The first step in determining if your condition qualifies you for disability benefits is calling the LaBovick Law Group for a free consultation. We will listen to your situation and advise whether this is something you should apply for…all for free! Our number to contact for a free consultation is (561) 625-8400. If we do advise you to apply for the program the first step would be submitting an application or claim to the social security administration. Once the application is submitted, social security will first review your claim to ensure you meek the technical requirements of the program, including whether you have disability insurance coverage through social security. As mentioned briefly above, to have social security disability insurance coverage you must have paid taxes into social security on your working wages. The general rule of thumb is that if you have paid taxes into social security for the past five out of ten years, you will likely have disability insurance coverage through the social security administration. If you have not, there is another program you may possibly qualify for which is a financial needs-based program called supplemental security income.
Once social security has determined you have worked long enough and paid enough in taxes into the system, they will then review your claim based upon your medical conditions. To review the medical aspect of the claim, social security will request copies of all of your medical records for the past two years. It is very important if you are suffering from Ehlers-Danlos syndrome that you seek medical attention. Without medical evidence not only diagnosing your condition but also treatment records indicating your symptoms and resulting functional limitations, social security will not be able to make a medical determination.
Assuming you have been seeking regular medical treatment from a primary care doctor, rheumatologist or other medical specialists, social security will use those medical records to determine what your functional limitations are due to your medical condition. In this situation, you would likely be complaining to your doctor about muscle weakness and joint hypermobility, which are the most common symptoms of this condition. Your doctor should be performing a medical examination at every office visit, documenting any physical limitations and/or pain descriptions. That medical examination is what social security will use to determine your limitations and how those impact your ability to work. If after receiving and reviewing your medical records, social security determines your condition and resulting symptoms preclude you from performing any work in the national economy for a minimum of twelve months, you will be found disabled. As you can imagine, this can be a long and difficult process. At the LaBovick Law Group, we know how to present the best case to social security, setting the case up for approval of these benefits. Call us today for a consultation and to submit your application for these benefits.