Hypertension is a global issue nowadays. We know it as high blood pressure. According to the World Health Organization(WHO) report, adults aged between 30 and 79 years old and about 1.28 billion worldwide suffer from Hypertension or high blood pressure issues. In the United States about one out of two adults are hypertension patients. Now the question comes to mind, is hypertension a disability?
WHO says, about 21% of people having high blood pressure are normal. But only 42% of high blood pressure patients are treated and diagnosed as the rest don’t even know that they are suffering from it. Most of the premature deaths are happening due to high blood pressure globally.
Sometimes, hypertension affects other organs and causes some other issues like reduced kidney function, heart disease, vision problems, dementia, and even heart failure. It can make a person partially of permanent disability. In this article, we discuss the risk factors, causes, side effects, and other important perspectives of high blood pressure to determine if hypertension is a disability.
1. What is Hypertension?
When a person has a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg or higher, then it is called hypertension. Sometimes we can not see any symptoms of high blood pressure in a person else it comes a severe situation. Then it becomes critical.
In fact, high blood pressure creates an extra force on the wall of arteries, so our heart pumps blood harder into our body. Only regular blood pressure readings and checkups can detect hypertension.
2. Hypertension Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
2.1. Symptoms of Hypertension
In most cases, you can not feel any symptoms for years though you have high blood pressure. Regular blood pressure check-up is necessary after the age of 40 years, at least once a year.
Some of the common symptoms of high blood pressure are chest pain, severe headache, vomiting, dizziness, nosebleeds, difficulty concentrating, breathing difficulty, and abnormal heart rhythm. Moreover, we can see symptoms like nausea, buzzing in the ear, vision problems, confusion, and anxiety in some cases.
2.2. Causes of Hypertension
There are so many factors involved in uncontrolled high blood pressure. However, the main reason is Atherosclerosis – a process of depositing plaques in the blood vessels.
Some key factors are:
- Overweight or obese
- Heredity – if your parents or grandparents have high blood pressure
- Older age – generally more than 65 years old
- Lack of exercise
- Drinking excessive alcohol
Consuming some cough and cold medicine and some illegal drugs like cocaine or amphetamines may cause high blood pressure. Some contraceptive pills, pain-killer, and other prescribed drugs also have a side effect of high blood pressure.
Furthermore, an unhealthy diet like consuming highly saturated or trans fat, excessive salt intake, and not taking enough fruits and vegetables may cause high blood pressure.
Some health issues that cause Hypertension are:
- Severe Kidney disease
- Congenital heart defect
- Coronary heart disease
- Thyroid issues
- Adrenal gland tumor
- Hormone problems
- Sleep apnea
2.3. Treatment of Hypertension
If your blood pressure remains continuously high like 140/90 or more, then you have to consult some medical professional. He can suggest some lifestyle changes, diet changes, and/or some medicines as per your risk factors like stroke or heart attack according to your medical history.
2.3.1. Changes in Lifestyle
If you don’t have any risk factors and you are under 80, then some changes in your lifestyle or diet will do. Your doctor may recommend the following.
- Daily freehand exercise to keep yourself active
- Less salt intake in your food, not more than one teaspoonful (6 gm) daily
- Consume less alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco
- Eat a balanced diet, having lower fat
- Quit smoking
- Weight loss or controlling
Undeniably, if you follow these lifestyles before high blood pressure, your chances of having high blood pressure will be lower.
2.3.2. Taking Medicines
If your age is 80 or above and you have any risk factors like stroke, heart attack, coronary heart disease, severe kidney disease, diabetes, or thyroid issues then your doctor will advise you to take some medicines. Of course, you may have to take medicine if you are below 80 also in some cases.
Doctors generally recommend two types of medicines to reduce or control blood pressure.
- Persons of any age having type-2 diabetes or below 55 years age – ACE (Angiotensin Converting Enzyme) inhibitor or ARB (Angiotensin-2 Receptor Blocker)*
- Any age of African or Caribbean origin not having type-2 diabetes or above 55 years age – Calcium channel blockers like Nifedipine, Amlodipine, etc.*
Medicines to control blood pressure may have to take for a lifetime if you have the issue of hypertension. You can only stop it if your physician says. Besides, regular blood pressure reading and checkup is mandatory for this type of patient.
(*Warning: Never take any medicines without consulting your doctor.)
3. Complications of Hypertension
Excessive force of blood in the blood vessels during high blood pressure may cause vital damage in the arteries. High blood pressure, if not kept under control, may create other complications like:
- Heart failure
- Stroke or Heart attack
- Coronary heart disease
- Kidney damage or failure
- Irregular heartbeat – leading to sudden death
- Eye problem
- Short-term memory loss or Confusion
- Metabolic syndrome
4. Is Hypertension a Disability
High blood pressure or hypertension itself cannot be a disability because there is no listing like this in the Social Security Disability Blue Book. However, if it gets complicated and tends to other severe medical disorders, then it may be considered.
If a person is unable to do his daily tasks at the home or workplace due to high blood pressure then also it is not considered a disability. Because, Social Security disability criteria required some proven medical history, sustainability, diagnosis, and medical records.
As per Social Security Administration (SSA), Chronic Pulmonary Vascular Hypertension is a listed disability caused by high blood pressure. This is called right heart failure in medical terminology. In addition, low vision or blindness, stroke, or Central Nervous System Vascular Accidents caused by high blood pressure are also considered as listed disabilities. So, you can apply for Disability Benefits in this case.
5. Social Security Programs for Disability
United States Government provides two types of Social Security Disability Programs through The Social Security Administration (SSA). These are Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). Both programs are for the assistance of people who meet the required criteria of disability to get some cash benefits.
5.1. Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
SSI benefits program is for the monetary assistance of people who have limited income and resources and meet their required criteria for some qualifying disability. This benefit is for disabled persons or persons 65 years or older.
5.2. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
The SSDI benefits program is for the financial assistance of the Insurer and their eligible family members if he is insured. The person has to fulfill the medical requirements and should have served for a long time and paid Social Security Taxes from his earning.
For both schemes, one common thing is that the patient would result in death by 12 months or probably be disabled for 12 months.
6. Filing a Disability Claim for Hypertension
Before applying for the disability claim for high blood pressure you should review the Adult Disability Checklist from the official SSA website. You have to gather the information and required documents first. Then you can proceed with the disability claim based on high blood pressure by phone, online, or in person.
The application process steps are as follows:
- Completed application submission with patient’s statements
- Review by the SSA team for the key requirements and health conditions
- Evaluation and confirmation of service history or current work status
- Application forwarded to State Disability Determination Services
- After evaluation, the state agency decides to disburse the benefits
Furthermore, to know the details about the required information and documents you can refer to the official website of the Social Security Administration.
In addition, to file a Disability benefits claim for hypertension, you can appoint a Social Security Disability attorney. He will guide you through the overall appeals process.
7. Tips for Getting Hypertension a Disability Benefit
If you are unable to do your daily task at work due to high blood pressure, you can apply for Social Security Disability Benefits. Here are some key tips:
- Mention all the ways by which high blood pressure restricts you from doing your daily life task or doing your job. That means you are now disabled due to high blood pressure.
- Enlist all the medical history including your medical records, medication, changes in lifestyle and diet, massage therapy, physical therapy, or chiropractic therapy that failed to do improvement. These are the medical evidence that all the attempts have gone in vain, and need financial assistance from the government.
- Be handy with all the latest tests and diagnostic documents like blood tests, CT scans, MRI reports, blood pressure measurements, and stress test reports. These reports can be produced as medical evidence of any damage to your organs like your heart, eyes, or kidneys.
Hypertension is a very common issue around the world now. Many times we ignore it as a normal health problem. So, don’t take high blood pressure lightly. Now the question comes to mind, is Hypertension a disability? Yes, It can gift you a partial or permanent disability. If you don’t take care of it beforehand, it can take your life too.
But don’t need to worry about it. High blood pressure is controllable and can be managed by some little steps. It’s in our hands. Just take some precautions before it dominates us.
Summing up, If we go through the proper diagnosis, systematic checkup, and needful treatment and maintain a healthy lifestyle we can keep ourselves safe from this devastating curse.