You may notice a lot of people wearing red this month — that’s because it’s February and the American Heart Foundation has designated February as American Heart Month. They’re wearing red to remind people that heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States and to educate them on the important health steps they can take to prevent heart disease in their lives, including eating right, getting plenty of rest and exercise, and not smoking.
What are the Signs of Heart Disease?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds in the United States, and each minute, someone in the U.S. dies from a heart disease-related event. Risk factors for heart disease include:
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Alcohol abuse
- Physical inactivity
- Unhealthy diet and eating patterns
Half of all Americans have at least one of the top three risk factors for heart disease.
It’s important to be aware of the warning signs of heart disease. Symptoms of heart disease to watch out for:
- Chest discomfort
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or stomach pain
- Shortness of breath
- Irregular heart beat
- Dizziness, lightheadedness
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back
- Persistent cough
If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, you should see your doctor immediately. Serious, potentially fatal, complications that can arise from heart disease:
- Heart failure
- Heart attacks
- Sudden cardiac arrest
- Peripheral artery disease
- Disorders of the veins or arteries that can affect the lower extremities, the central nervous system, the eyes, the kidneys, and other organs.
What We Can Do to Prevent Heart Disease
Fortunately, there are many steps an individual can take to reduce the risk of heart disease:
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes foods low in saturated fat, sodium and cholesterol and high in fiber and vitamins.
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Exercise regularly.
- Limit alcohol use.
- Don’t smoke.
- Genetic factors can contribute to heart disease, so know your family medical history. Heart disease can run in the family.
Social Security Disability Benefits for Heart Disease
In many instances, heart disease can leave an individual unable to work. Depending on the type and severity of their cardiovascular impairment, they may be able to claim either short-term or long-term disability benefits. The Social Security Administration defines a cardiovascular impairment as any disorder, whether it be congenital or acquired, that affects the proper functioning of the heart or the circulatory system (such as the arteries, veins, capillaries, and the lymphatic drainage). According to the SSA, a cardiovascular impairment results from one or more of four consequences of heart disease:
- Chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction.
- Discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia, with or without necrosis of heart muscle.
- Syncope, or near syncope, due to inadequate cerebral perfusion from any cardiac cause, such as obstruction of flow or disturbance in rhythm or conduction resulting in inadequate cardiac output.
- Central cyanosis due to right-to-left shunt, reduced oxygen concentration in the arterial blood, or pulmonary vascular disease.
To meet the SSA’s eligibility requirements, an applicant will be required to submit sufficiently detailed reports of medical history, physical examinations, laboratory studies, and any prescribed treatment and response that will allow the SSA to accurately assess the severity and duration of their cardiovascular impairment.
Need Help With Your Disability Claim for Heart Disease?
Filing a claim for disability benefits can be intimidating if you aren’t familiar with the process, and often claims are denied with the initial application.
M. Stanley Whitehead is a leading Houston Social Security disability benefits attorney. He has helped thousands of disabled workers and veterans get the benefits they deserve for cardiovascular impairments and other serious medical conditions. He can successfully guide you through the application process and provide expert representation if need to file an appeal after being turned down for benefits. If you have been disabled and are unable to work, contact the offices of M. Stanley Whitehead to schedule a free, no obligation consultation to discuss your case.