Social Security’s rules recognize a wide variety of medical conditions which, if severe enough, may qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration. These conditions include a wide variety of digestive system disorders:
Colitis is a digestive disease caused by chronic or acute inflammation of the membrane lining of the colon or large intestine. There are several types of colitis that differ in the severity of colon damage. These include Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, ischemic colitis, necrotizing colitis, and fulminant colitis. In any form, colitis is a serious condition that can cause extreme pain and inflammation. In some cases, a lack of blood flow may occur and infections may arise, including those usually caused by food poisoning and bacterial viruses and parasites.
The symptoms may vary depending on the type of colitis you are experiencing. Signs may include abdominal pain and bloating, dehydration, chills, diarrhea, high fever, constant and extreme need to pass a bowel movement, and the passing of bloody stools. More severe signs may also include difficulty urinating, severe rectal or abdominal pain, and rectal bleeding. If a person you have shared food with begins to experience similar symptoms, this is also a bad sign.
Crohn’s disease is one of the more common forms of inflammatory bowel disease. It affects the gastrointestinal tract, including the entire wall of the bowel and intestines. Inflammation occurs, most often in the intestines, but can also affect any area between the mouth and the anus. It is a chronic autoimmune disease, meaning that it is a result of the body’s immune system attacking itself and the effects are ongoing.
It can occur at any age, but usually affects those between the ages of 15 and 30. Although the exact cause of Crohn’s disease is unknown, it is assumed to be a hereditary disease. It is more likely to occur in people whose bodies are already known to over-react to the appearance of bacteria in the intestinal regions. Smoking can be a high-risk factor as well.
The typical symptoms of Crohn’s disease are fatigue, high fever, loss of appetite, unexplained weight loss, persistent diarrhea, abdominal cramps, and pain with bowel movements that may also be bloody. These signs can vary depending on which area of the gastrointestinal tract is being affected. Others include constipation, eye inflammation, mouth ulcers, skin ulcers, and joint pain. Children may experience delays in growth or sexual development.
Necrotizing colitis, or pseudomembranous colitis, is a very specific disease that produces too much of a bacteria called Clostridium difficile, causing infection. This bacteria creates a toxin that inflames the lining of the colon when released, allowing an overgrowth that may cause bleeding in the colon.
The most recognized factor in receiving this illness is the use of antibiotics like ampicillin, clindamycin, fluoroquinolones, and cephalosporins. These antibiotics seem to further inflict the bacteria overgrowth. The disease can also be caused by recent surgery or simply old age. It is common for people in the hospital to become inflicted, due to the passing of bacteria between patients. The typical signs of necrotizing colitis include dehydration, nausea, mild or severe abdominal cramps, a strong urge to have a bowel movement, and the passing of stools that are bloody or contain pus or mucus. Those suffering also often have watery diarrhea between 5 and 10 times a day.
Pancreatitis is a condition in which the pancreatic digestive enzymes that are meant to digest food in the small intestine become active in the pancreas instead, which then attacks itself. The illness can be acute, quick and sudden, or chronic, lasting for up to several years and causing serious digestive damage.
The most common causes of pancreatitis are gallstones and excessive alcohol use. Gallstones are crystalline concretions formed of bile in the gallbladder, which often pass through other parts of the biliary tract, which includes the pancreatic duct. Environmental and genetic reasons have also been known to cause pancreatitis along with other common causes like mumps, scorpion venom, certain medications, steroids, and trauma to the abdomen.
Pancreatitis usually causes severe pain in the upper abdomen that often stretches to the back. Other symptoms include high fever, nausea, vomiting, abnormally rapid pulse, low blood pressure, dehydration, rapid weight loss, and internal bleeding. Chronic pancreatitis may also lead to signs of diabetes or pancreatic cancer. A diagnosis of pancreatitis can often be easily made with an inexpensive abdomen ultrasound, which can clearly see whether or not the pancreas is inflamed and can also detect gallstones and an alcoholic fatty liver.