Diabetes

Diabetes is a complex endocrine problem that affects multiple body systems.  As the disease progresses unchecked, it can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure, and death.  However, people are not usually approved on the basis of having diabetes alone.  Rather, your limitations are usually assessed according to the secondary conditions that diabetes causes and the body systems affected.  For instance, diabetic retinopathy can result from diabetes, but the limitations that causes would be evaluated under the regulations that discuss visual loss.  High or low blood sugars can be considered disabling only if they are chronically out of control despite your compliance with treatment.  Because doctors never know for sure if you are taking your medicines as prescribed, it is often difficult to prove perfect compliance with treatment.

When you are seeking disability benefits on the basis of diabetes or its secondary effects, it is most important you are perfectly compliant with recommended treatment and your doctor is aware that you are.  You should keep a log of your blood sugars throughout the day, a food journal and record of your exercise.

Sometimes diabetes can result in a very painful condition called diabetic neuropathy.  This condition typically affects the lower legs, feet and hands, and causes pain, numbness and tingling that can be highly distracting.  Any limitation of function related to your hands is very important in terms of the number of jobs available to you.  Be certain to remember to tell your doctor about the tingling and numbness in your hands even if your feet hurt worse.  Do not leave out any area of tingling and numbness.  This is important because if you are limited to no more than sit down work due to the neuropathy in your feet, and you cannot use your any more than occasionally then there are very few jobs left for you.

There are a few diabetics, usually type 1 diabetics, who just cannot keep their blood sugar under control, even though they try very hard. If you are trying hard and your blood sugars keep going very low and very high, so low and high that you feel sick and cannot work, you might be disabled because you can’t attend work predictably. To win a case this way, you have to be sure to prove that you are doing everything you can to keep your diabetes under control.

Any diabetic who cannot afford medicine should be able to get it for free under one of the drug companies’ programs.