Renal Disease

Renal disease is also known as Genitourinary impairments. For disability purposes the Social Security Administration evaluates renal dysfunction due to any chronic renal disease such as: chronic glomerulonephritis, hypertensive renal vascular disease, diabetic nephropathy, chronic obstructive uropathy, and hereditary nephropathies. This is not a complete list, only some examples of what Social Security considers when evaluating renal disease. Renal diseases have many signs and symptoms associated with the dysfunction of the kidneys. These can include, fatigue, shortness of breath, hypertension, congestive heart failure, swelling in the abdomen and/or legs/feet, numbness and weakness in various parts of the body, little or no urine when urinating, nausea and vomiting, weightless and/or pain in the back below the rib cage. Some individuals will experience feelings of anxiousness, restlessness or even confusion. On the other hand, some individuals do not know that they are suffering from renal disease until they are told by their doctor that they have an increased creatinine level or some other abnormal test result that leads to the diagnosis of a renal impairment. In my experience, often times these clients were hospitalized for some other condition and during the course of their hospital stay were found to have a significant kidney disorder.

The Social Security Administration will need to evaluate the patient’s long term medical history and progression of the disease(s). When evaluating these types of impairments it is very important to consider the effects of treatment. The factors to be considered are: the types of therapy, the response to therapy, side effects of therapy, how long therapy is to last, and what lasting impact therapy will leave. There may be many occurrences where therapy may become ineffective and treatments may need to change. Because the kidneys are so vital to the body, often times other areas of the body are affected, which can be disabling in and of itself. For those patients with severe and/or chronic renal disease, that requires persistent dialysis and/or kidney transplants, the attorney can request that the claim be reviewed for a possible early decision. At that point, it becomes very important that they attorney work closely with the doctor to present the appropriate laboratory findings, diagnosis, and impact of treatment. Other claims may require a hearing to provide the individual with the opportunity to tell the Social Security Administration about the disabling symptoms, and how the limitations affect their abilities to complete a normal day.

Depending on the severity of the renal disease there can be bone deterioration as a result of this condition causing severe bone pain. The pain in and of itself can be disabling as this usually interferes with the persons abilities to sit, stand or walk for prolong periods of time. In addition, the pain can become so severe that it interferes with the ability to concentrate, preventing the individual from being able to stay focused on simple job tasks. These individuals will usually require frequent rest periods throughout the day due to fatigue, pain, swelling, and/or muscle weakness. As renal diseases are so very complicated and affect so many body parts it is important to have an experienced attorney represent them on these types of claims.

Disclaimer: These pages are only observations from my point of view of some of the factors that are present in the diagnosis. I am not a doctor, I am a lawyer and I am only providing observations of various signs and symptoms that I have seen during my practice and/or the signs and symptoms that I evaluate when taking a client in front of an Administrative Law Judge.