What is Dumping Syndrome?

August 10, 2021 in
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Dumping syndrome, also known as the rapid gastric emptying syndrome is a medical condition where your stomach empties its contents into the small intestine faster than normal. Typically, when you eat food takes several hours to pass through your digestive tract into your intestines. People suffering from dumping syndrome often experience symptoms such as nausea, abdominal cramping and fatigue. Other lesser-known symptoms may include vomiting, bloating, cramping, dizziness, lightheadedness, and rapid heart rate.

Dumping syndrome is most commonly caused by bariatric surgery such as gastric bypass or gastric sleeve surgery. But this condition may also occur as a result of esophagectomy (removal of part of the esophagus); fundoplication (stomach surgery); gastrectomy (removal of part of the stomach); and vagotomy (vagus nerve cut from the stomach). Other causes of dumping syndrome unrelated to surgical procedures may include diabetes mellitus type 2, pancreatic exocrine insufficiency, duodenal ulcers, or Zollinger-Ellison syndrome.

This condition is typically diagnosed based upon your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend testing to confirm their provision diagnosis with tests including oral glucose tolerance test or gastric emptying scan. But generally, your symptoms will be the main way dumping syndrome will be diagnosed. Treatment for this condition will depend upon how severe your symptoms. The most commonly recommended treatment is changing your diet. Eating smaller meals and changing what you eat is the easiest way to try to manage this condition. But again, for those with a severe case, a more aggressive treatment approach will be required including medications to help reduce your symptoms or even surgical intervention. Any surgical intervention will depend upon the cause of your dumping syndrome.

For those suffering from dumping syndrome, you may find it difficult to work based upon your symptoms. Not only would you need easy access to a restroom but you are likely severely fatigued and weak due to poor nutrient absorption. You may also suffer from anemia again because of poor nutrient absorption. If you find yourself in a position where you are not able to complete an 8-hour work day due to this condition, you should consider applying for social security disability benefits.

To determine if you qualify for social security disability benefits, you must first show you have paid enough taxes into the disability program to qualify. Assuming you have worked the past 5 out of 10 years and paid taxes into the social security system on your earnings then you will likely have disability insurance coverage. The next step is to show you medically qualify for disability insurance benefits. To medically qualify for disability, you must show you suffer from a severe medical condition that prevents you from performing a substantial gainful activity for a minimum of twelve months or be diagnosed with a terminal condition.

When determining if your condition meets the definition of disability, social security will use a five-step sequential evaluation process. The first step of the process is determining if you are currently working, earning substantial gainful activity. Substantial gainful activity is a monthly amount social security has set that if you are working and earning over that amount you will not be able to apply for disability benefits. The SGA amount changes every year, with the amount in 2021 being $1,311 a month. If you are working part-time, earning less than SGA, you will be allowed to continue with your application.

Assuming you are not working, the next step in the evaluation is whether you suffer from a severe medical condition which impacts your ability to work. The threshold for this is quite low, with really a minimal impact upon your ability to work is sufficient to get you past step two. If there is ever a question as to severity, the benefit of the doubt goes in the claimant’s favor. The third step of the process considers whether your case meets or equals a listing. Social security has compiled a list of conditions that it has deemed to be automatically disabling. This is called the Listings and can be found in the blue book or on social security’s website. To be found disabled based upon a listing you must have sufficient medical evidence documenting your condition. In the case of dumping syndrome, there is not a specific listing for this condition. However, the condition does lend itself to other listed conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease (5.06), short bowel syndrome (5.07) or weight loss due to any digestive disorder (5.08). The general evidence that would be needed for these listings would come from a gastroenterologist documenting the severity of your symptoms, surgical procedures, and weight fluctuations. As you can imagine, you are suffering from severe dumping syndrome you likely are not eating a large amount which thus would cause significant weight loss. For some, they may experience weight loss of 25-50lbs a year.

If your condition is not found to meet or equal a listing, which in most cases it is not, then social security will then consider your residual functional capacity. Your residual functional capacity is the most you can do in spite of your conditions. This includes not only your physical capabilities as well as your non-exertional limitations related to mental health conditions, fatigue, etc. Social security will determine your residual functional capacity based upon your medical evidence. They will review your records for symptoms, examinations, and any limitations indicated by your medical provider. Once your residual functional capacity is determined social security will then evaluate your claim based upon Step 4 and Step 5.

At step 4, social security will determine if your RFC precludes you from performing past relevant work. Work qualifies as past relevant work if you have performed the job within the past fifteen years and you worked at the job long enough to learn it. Assuming you are found unable to perform your past relevant work, social security will then consider if there are other jobs you could perform in the national economy in spite of your residual functional capacity. If you are found unable to perform any other then you will be found disabled.

Suffering from dumping syndrome can have a severely debilitating impact on some people. If you find yourself in this position, please call us today at the LaBovick Law Group for a free consultation (561) 625-8400. We have handled a number of cases involving this condition. We know what medical evidence is needed to win you the benefits you deserve.