Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect various parts of the body, including skin, joints, heart, lungs, blood, kidneys and brain. Normally the body’s immune system makes proteins called antibodies, to protect the body against viruses, bacteria, and other foreign materials. In an autoimmune disorder like lupus, the immune system cannot tell the difference between foreign substances and its own cells and tissues. The immune system then makes antibodies directed against itself, causing inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body.
Lupus can cause unique problems in proving that one is disabled from returning to full time work. For most people, lupus is a mild disease but for others, it can cause serious and even life threatening problems. Currently there is no single laboratory test that can determine whether a person has lupus or not. Many lupus symptoms mimic other illnesses and are sometimes vague and may come and go, making it difficult to diagnose. Additionally, the symptoms can be varied.
The most common disabling conditions being:
- achy joints
- arthritis/swollen joints
- prolonged or extreme fatigue
- kidney involvement
- pain in the chest on deep breathing/pleurisy
- neurological disorder
- blood clotting problems
Oftentimes no single condition is disabling in itself. It is a combination of the symptoms and sometimes even the treatment thereof that become disabling. One of the primary aggravators of the disease is physical and emotional stress, both of which are found in most work places.
A proper understanding of the disease process is necessary to properly document and support a disability claim. We at the law firm of Stennett & Casino have dealt with clients suffering from lupus and can effectively help in the proper presentation of a lupus disability claim.