The Social Security Administration (SSA) recognizes a variety of childhood ailments for disability benefit consideration. One of these ailment classifications deals with respiratory illnesses like asthma. Asthma is characterized by episodes or “attacks” of inflammation and narrowing of small airways. As a result of this inflammation, it is incredibly laborious to fill the lungs with oxygen, and sometimes even more difficult to expel carbon dioxide.
An asthma attack is scary. Struggling to breathe can make a full-grown man panic, let alone a child. Even scarier, according to the Centers for Disease Control, over 6.5 million children in the U.S. are struggling with some degree of asthma. Although minor asthmatic conditions can be maintained and small attacks can be controlled with medication that opens up the lungs’ pathways, severe attacks can lead to hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the blood), brain damage, suffocation, tissue damage, and even death.
Since the effects of asthma can range from minor to severe, the SSA requires medical evidence that a child’s symptoms are severe enough to cause life-altering complications before it approves a disability claim.
Symptoms of Severe Asthma
When trying to determine if your child has asthma, let alone severe asthma, it’s important to closely monitor his breathing. Common symptoms associated with asthma include:
- Shortness of breath
- Repetitive coughing or struggling to inhale
- Chest pain or tightness
These symptoms can be brought on by common asthmatic triggers such as:
- Respiratory irritants. Irritants such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, smoke, and tobacco can cause lung tissue to inflame and promote an asthma attack.
- Respiratory infections. Illnesses that attack the lungs, such as a cold or bronchitis can affect healthy lung function, but if the lungs are already compromised, these types of illnesses can bring on asthmatic attacks.
- Exercise. An elevated heart rate requires deeper breathing in order to circulate oxygen throughout the body. The need to breathe more deeply can exacerbate asthma.
- Weather changes. Changes in air temperature can cause blood vessels in the lungs to constrict, making it harder to breathe.
- Excessive humidity. Asthmatics are unable to expel air as rapidly as those with healthy lung function. As a result, when introduced to areas with high humidity, they can’t expel the moisture that they breathe into their lungs so the excess moisture builds and mimics the labored breathing that can be seen in drowning victims.
If you believe your child may have the symptoms of severe asthma, do not wait for a trigger to cause an attack. The second worst feeling in the world is desperately trying to catch your breath and being unable to. The worst feeling is helplessly watching your child gasp for air. If your child displays any of the above symptoms, take him to a doctor right away and have him assessed for asthma. Once diagnosed, depending on the severity of the condition, you may then be able to apply on his behalf for social security disability benefits.
For more information on applying, or to find out if the severity of the condition warrants disability contact our office today!