Diabetes and the Disability Lawyer

Posted July 21, 2014

Diabetes mellitus or just “diabetes” is a condition which plagues hundreds of millions of people worldwide. The two most common forms of diabetes are “juvenile diabetes” and “adult onset diabetes.”  Many times juvenile diabetes is characterized as being “Type I” while adult onset diabetes is called “Type II.”

Juvenile diabetes, as the name suggests, usually strikes younger individuals and occurs suddenly with most of the victims being children. Type II diabetes is developmental and makes up the vast majority of diabetic cases. Diabetics often have elevated blood sugars but low blood sugar events, normally referred to as hypoglycemic attacks, can also occur.

Diabetes can affect multiple body systems and cause long-term complications.

Signs of diabetes can include blurred vision, prolonged healing, headache, fatigue, bowel disorders, numbness or pain and a host of other symptoms. It is easier to regulate or treat type II diabetes as it is more responsive to exercise, diet and medications than type I.

Diabetes that is progressive or untreated can result in diabetic ketoacidosis or even coma with long-term complications including diabetic retinopathy affecting the eyes, peripheral neuropathy in the arms and legs, kidney failure and a host of other problems.

For a disability attorney to adequately represent a client whose claim is based in whole or in part on diabetes, it is not sufficient simply to show that the disease exists in the claimant. Most Judges or Adjudicators expect to see documentation as to the effects of the disease in order to determine whether it would be disabling or not. Obviously many people have diabetes and go on to lead productive lives.

If the diagnosis of “diabetes” is a significant factor in one or more body system it becomes necessary to illustrate, from a medical point of view, what systems are affected, the degree to which that system is affected and the practical results of the limitations.

The two best ways to illustrate blood sugar problems are either to produce accurate records showing the actual blood sugar readings over time and/or the A1C levels dealing with average blood sugars over time. Additionally, it is helpful to get detailed reports from multiple physicians who are familiar with the claimant to assess the effect of the illness on a person’s day-to-day functioning.

You find below some links to some very helpful websites that may assist you with specific questions you have concerning diabetes.

http://www.medicinenet.com/diabetes_mellitus/article.htm

http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/default.htm

http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/endocrine_and_metabolic_disorders/diabetes_mellitus_and_disorders_of_carbohydrate_metabolism/diabetes_mellitus_dm.html?qt=diabetes&alt=sh

http://www.joslin.org/?gclid=CPmxuIKk178CFQszaQodQbcA_Q

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