Tag Archives: dementia

Cynicism may lead to higher rates of Dementia

What’s one of the best things you can do for your health? Although exercising, maintaining a healthy body weight and eating right are all good answers, doctors have added positive thinking to the list. According to new research, medical professionals are starting to agree a high degree of anger, hostility, and cynicism is not good for your health.

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Dementia for aging may be offset by Exercise

Here’s one more reason to pull those clothes off the treadmill sitting in the corner of your bedroom and hop on for some exercise. According to a new study by the Cooper Center Longitudinal Study, researchers found that “individuals with the highest levels of cardiorespiratory fitness during middle age were significantly less likely to develop dementia in their senior years.”

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Cognitive Disorders and SSA Disability Benefits

Millions of Americans are diagnosed with various cognitive disorders each year. Cognitive disorders can include a variety of conditions which affect an individual’s ability to process information, to learn, to solve problems or to remember.

A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain...

A CT of the head years after a traumatic brain injury showing an empty space marked by the arrow were the damage occurred. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A loss of cognitive ability is common as claimant’s age, but any condition which is severe can affect a claimant’s ability to perform work. Common conditions which can cause cognitive dysfunction include amnesia, dementia (Alzheimers) or delirium.

Common types of Cognitive Disorders

The medical community generally classifies cognitive disorder into three categories:

  • Delirium

Delirium can be grouped into hypoactive or hyperactive. Patients with hypoactive delirium are generally nonresponsive. Patients with hyperactive delirium may be angry or hostile. Most types of delirium are temporary and are commonly caused by mild anemia, mild hypoxia or mild hyponatremia.

  • Dementia

Dementia is the inability to remember or to learn. This condition is most common in the elderly but can also occur in younger claimants who suffer a stroke, heart attack or severe brain injury.

  • Amnesia

Amnesia occurs if a claimant does not have the ability to remember events or learn new information. Common causes include substance abuse, exposure to toxins, alcohol abuse, brain trauma or Wernicke- Korsakoff’s syndrome.

The three most common cognitive disorders are listed above but there are also a variety of other conditions which are not classified (Cognitive Disorders NOS – Not otherwise specified).

Winning SSDI or SSI for Cognitive Disorders

The SSA has two methods to determine if a claimant is so disabled they qualify for SSI or SSDI benefits. First, the SSA will determine if their condition is listed on the SSA Listing of Impairments (a list of all the conditions and symptoms the SSA considers automatically disabling). If the claimant’s condition is not on the SSA Listing of Impairments (also known as the Blue Book) the claimant will have to prove they do not have enough residual capacity to work through a medical vocational allowance.

Meeting a Listing for Cognitive Disorders

Cognitive disorders can be caused by a variety of conditions. To win benefits for a cognitive disorder by meeting a listing the claimant must show that their condition and symptoms are severe as another condition on the list.

For instance, severe head trauma can cause amnesia or dementia and would be evaluated under listing 11.00 Neurological. Other cognitive disorders would have symptoms similar to mental health disorders which would be evaluated under 12.00 Mental Disorders.

Most claimants who have a cognitive disorder will not meet a listing and will have to prove that they cannot work through a medical vocational allowance.

Winning SSI or SSDI through a Medical Vocational Allowance

To determine if a SSI or SSDI claimant can win benefits through a medical vocational allowance the SSA will evaluate the work effort needed to perform their work. They will also determine the residual capacity the claimant has to work based on their age, education, work history, and health condition.

Claimants should have their doctors clearly document their cognitive problems. For instance, does the claimant have poor concentration, memory or difficulty completing tasks? For instance, claimants who have had a severe head trauma may have impaired attention, concentration or intellectual functioning. If this is clearly documented the claimant can argue that they are unable to work many potential jobs.

If your condition does not meet a listing on the SSA Listing of Impairments you may need to talk to a disability lawyer and have them review your medical records to identify what additional medical information you will need to win your SSI or SSDI claim.

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Aphasia and Getting Social Security Disability Benefits

Aphasia is a language disorder that is characterized by damage to the parts of the brain that control language. This is the left hemisphere (side) of the brain in most cases.

Aphasia has to do with the expression and understanding of language. It also has to do with the reading and writing of language.

Aphasia may originate with other speech disorders that are a result of damage to the brain like dysarthria or apraxia of speech. Aphasia occurs most of the time in people who are middle-aged and older. However, this disorder can develop in anyone.

Who is affected

Somewhere around one million people are afflicted with aphasia in the United States. Estimates are that about 80,000 people develop the disorder every year. Aphasia affects men and women equally.

There are four main forms of aphasia. They are:

Anomic aphasia – This is where there is a problem using the right word for events, places or objects.
Global aphasia – This is a form of the disorder where a person cannot speak, read or write, or understand speech.
Receptive aphasia – A person is able to hear the voice or see the print, but they are unable to make any sense out of the words.
Expressive aphasia – This form is where a person knows what it is that they want to say, but they have difficulty saying or writing what they mean.

Aphasia is a disorder that usually begins suddenly. Often, it is brought about by a stroke or head injury, However, aphasia may also begin slowly. This is true if it results from a brain tumor, dementia or infection.

The signs and symptoms that are produced by aphasia are determined by the severity and location of the brain damage. Possible signs and symptoms include:

Writing sentences that do not make sense
Speaking in sentences that do not make sense
Not being able to understand other people’s conversation
Saying unrecognizable words
Interpreting figurative language in a literal way
Speaking in short, incomplete sentences.

The amount of disability that is brought about by aphasia is also determined by the location and severity of the brain damage.

Aphasia may be the reason why your spouse or loved one cannot work. This disorder may have brought about their disability.

If this is true, do you need financial assistance in providing and caring for your spouse or loved one? Where will you get the financial help that you need?

List of impairments

It will help you to know that aphasia is one of the disorders that is on the Social Security Administration’s list of impairments. However, this is not a guarantee of being approved for Social Security disability benefits.

Sufficient medical proof has to be submitted to the Social Security Administration. Sometimes, this is more complicated than you would imagine. It may serve you well to secure the services of a disability attorney to help and guide you through the application process. A disability attorney may prove to be the difference in approval or denial of Social Security disability benefits.

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