What is chronic anemia?

Anemia is a condition in which the blood does not contain enough red cells or hemoglobin to adequately carry oxygen. When anemia persists for several months, it is considered chronic. This disorder often causes adverse symptoms and worsens existing health problems. As a result, it can be severely disabling. Sometimes, victims may even qualify for Social Security Disability benefits, as any SSD benefits lawyer in Illinois could attest.

A debilitating disorder

Chronic anemia may occur because of blood loss, destruction of red blood cells or inadequate red blood cell production. This disorder may develop as a direct result of other conditions or illnesses, such as iron deficiency or sickle cell disease. Persistent anemia may also arise as a secondary symptom of various conditions, including cancer, renal problems or alcohol addiction.

When a person suffers from anemia, the person’s cells don’t receive the full amount of oxygen needed for proper function. As a result, many symptoms of anemia affect the entire body. These symptoms and their severity vary, and some people even adjust to early anemia without noticing its signs. However, as the disease progresses, victims may develop the following symptoms:

  • Low energy
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Heart palpitations
  • Fainting

Some victims may also experience difficulty concentrating and sleep disturbances. Additionally, chronic anemia can make people more susceptible to infections.

Treatment of anemia depends largely on the underlying cause. This makes an effective diagnosis a precursor to appropriate treatment. Unfortunately, if treatment is ineffective or if the cause of anemia is unknown, victims may have to live with debilitating symptoms. If these symptoms prevent gainful work, victims may apply for SSD benefits.

Disability evaluation

The Social Security Administration automatically considers anemia disabling if victims document certain symptoms. First, as an SSD benefits lawyer in Illinois could explain, victims prove their hematocrit levels consistently fall below 30 percent. Victims also must show that they require blood transfusions about once every two months. People who don’t meet the second requirement can establish that an impairment resulting from anemia qualifies as disabling.

People who can’t meet these criteria may receive SSD benefits for chronic anemia through medical-vocational allowances. The SSA awards allowances if a person’s impairments, along with the person’s education and job-related skills, prevent employment. People seeking medical-vocational allowances must provide documentation of their vocational backgrounds and educations, along with their functional restrictions.

Victims of chronic anemia may receive allowances if symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness or shortness of breath limit their ability to work. However, the SSA also must find that a victim is not reasonably qualified for light or sedentary work. Otherwise, as an SSD benefits lawyer in Illinois knows, the individual will be considered capable of working.