Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Complications of liver disease can lead to disability

Those who have liver disease can attest that it can have a significant effect on every area of their lives. Even if they recognize the signs of liver disease and what may have caused it, serious damage may already have been done.

Let's look at a specific liver disease, cirrhosis. There are a number of causes of cirrhosis. For example, cirrhosis of the liver can occur if a person abuses alcohol, has viral hepatitis or has fatty liver disease not related to alcohol use. There are other, less common, causes of cirrhosis as well. Unfortunately, cirrhosis often doesn't present any symptoms until the damage to one's liver is widespread.

There are a number of symptoms of cirrhosis to look out for. Becoming easily tired, or bleeding or bruising easily are signs of cirrhosis. Having jaundice or feeling itchy are also signs of cirrhosis. A person with cirrhosis may accumulate fluid in his or her torso or may have swollen legs. In addition those with cirrhosis may lose their appetite or even feel nauseous. They may lose weight. The palms of their hands may appear red and they may see noticeable spidery blood vessels. Finally, they may feel confused or may even have trouble speaking.

There are also a number of complications that could arise from cirrhosis. A person with cirrhosis could have portal hypertension in the veins that supply the liver with blood. They could experience edema, ascites or bone disease. Their spleen could become enlarged. There could be an increase of toxins in their brain, which could result in a coma. They could even experience life-threatening bleeding. In extremely serious situations, they could even experience liver failure.

As this shows, the complications associated with liver disease can be very serious, and in some cases could be fatal. For these reasons, the Social Security Administration recognizes that chronic liver disease can be a disabling condition if the right requirements are met. Therefore, those who have cirrhosis may want to determine whether they are able to pursue Social Security disability benefits for illness. These benefits can be key in helping these individuals stay afloat financially when their medical condition prevents them from working.

Source: Mayo Clinic, "Cirrhosis," accessed May 2, 2017

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