Living with idiopathic inflammatory myopathy is difficult, and the struggles of a disabled individual are exasperated by an inability to work. People who cannot work because of the severe and ongoing symptoms and complications of a disability often worry about how they will be able to pay their bills. Social security disability (SSD) benefits are intended to help disabled individuals who have worked in the past. These benefits are funded through paycheck deductions, so applicants have already paid into the program.
What Is Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy?
Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy refers to a group of diseases that cause chronic muscle inflammation. People who have this type of disease experience severe muscle weakness that may make it difficult for them to stand or walk.
Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy Symptoms
Since idiopathic inflammatory myopathy primarily affects the muscles, muscle weakness is the main symptom that people experience. This symptom can develop right away or over the course of weeks, months, or years. Joint pain and fatigue are other symptoms that may be experienced. These symptoms make day-to-day tasks, like climbing stairs, lifting items, and standing up, difficult for some to accomplish. Keep in mind, however, that symptoms can vary depending on the type of idiopathic inflammatory myopathy with which a person has been diagnosed.
Types of Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy
There are three different persistent types of this condition, and each type of idiopathic inflammatory myopathy comes with a unique set of symptoms and complications.
- Polymyositis affects the skeletal muscles found throughout the body. This condition generally affects adults. Muscle weakness is the result of polymyositis, and people who suffer from this condition may experience a severe reduction in range of motion. Arthritis and respiratory problems are common with this condition.
- Dermatomyositis causes a skin rash that is often experienced at the same time as muscle weakness. Rashes spread on the eyelids and joints. Weight loss is common, and sufferers may develop a sensitivity to light. Calcium deposits and tumors often occur with dermatomyositis.
- Inclusion body myositis causes severe muscle weakness. Loss of coordination is experienced as the muscles are damaged. Small holes appear in the fiber of the muscles. Weakness in the muscles in the hand can make it very difficult for affected individuals to grip items, fasten buttons or hold objects. Sufferers also have difficulty swallowing due to complications of the condition.
Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy Diagnosis
If a patient is complaining of muscle weakness, a doctor will most likely want to run tests to confirm that the patient is suffering from this disease. For those that may be suffering from dermatomyositis, the doctor may want to run tests if a skin rash accompanies the muscle weakness. In order to properly diagnosis idiopathic inflammatory myopathy, a doctor may draw blood to test the level of muscle enzyme and antibodies. An MRI or EMG (electromyogram) may be ordered in an effort to see evidence of the muscle weakness. As a last option, doctors may biopsy pieces of the muscle to test for inflammation.
Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy Prognosis
Idiopathic inflammatory myopathy is a chronic disease. Fortunately, some people can successfully manage the disease with exercise and therapy. However, individuals who suffer from other conditions in addition to idiopathic inflammatory myopathy may be unable to keep the condition under control.
Causes of Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy
The causes of this disease are mainly remain a mystery to doctors. Some believe that it could be inherited while others believe that it’s caused by an infection, muscle injury, or other disorder. One theory behind the cause of this disease has to do with the immune system. It’s believed that the immune system attacks itself, which causes the muscle inflammation. However, there isn’t definite proof to any one cause.
Treatment for Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy
Unfortunately, there currently isn’t a cure for this type of disease. Treatment is focused on managing the symptoms. This includes lifestyle changes like exercising more, getting a sufficient amount of rest, maintaining a healthy diet, and reducing stress. Doctors may also prescribe anti-inflammatories or corticosteroids to manage inflammation and pain.
Can You Get Disability For Idiopathic Inflammatory Myopathy?
Some people are able to control their symptoms and maintain a high quality of life with idiopathic inflammatory myopathy. However, people who also suffer from cardiac or pulmonary conditions are often unable to manage the condition. Loss of range of motion and general muscle weakness can make it difficult for these individuals to complete job tasks.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) determines whether an applicant is qualified to receive SSD benefits by evaluating proof of disability. The applicant must establish that they are experiencing chronic symptoms that severely limit their physical or mental abilities. These symptoms must be expected to last for a minimum of 12 months, and the SSA generally requires that all treatment options be exhausted before benefits can be provided.
The most important portion of the application is the proof of disability. This evidence should be provided through medical records. Thorough, accurate medical records that are put together by a licensed provider should be sent to the SSA with the application. The most common reason for the denial of an application is a lack of evidence.
Getting Help From an Attorney
Applying for benefits is a stressful process that may cause applicants to feel hopeless. An individual’s ability to pay for housing and groceries may rest on the acceptance of an SSD benefits application. It is recommended that disabled individuals consult with an attorney during this process. Attorneys with experience in handling SSD cases are able to guide their clients through the application process. Having help during a difficult time allows applicants to feel as if they have someone on their side. Attorneys have the knowledge needed to ensure that applications are complete and accurate to boost the chances that the application for benefits will be approved.