Patients with dermatomyositis may be unable to work because of their disease and its related complications. Patients who find themselves unable to work because of their dermatomyositis may qualify for long term disability (LTD) benefits. The insurance company will review their claim to see if they qualify under the conditions of that plan.
What is Dermatomyositis?
According to The National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, dermatomyositis is a muscle disease. It is a type of inflammatory myopathy, typically characterized by inflammation and a skin rash.
Causes, Incidence, and Risk Factors
Dermatomyositis’ cause is unknown. Experts believe it may be the result of a viral infection of the muscles or a problem with the body’s immune system. It may also occur in patients with cancer of the abdomen, lung, or other body areas.
Anyone can develop dermatomyositis, but it most common in children between the ages of 5 and 15, and in adults between the ages 40 and 60. Women typically develop the condition more often than men.
Polymyositis is a similar condition, but the symptoms in that condition typically occur without a skin rash.
- Difficulty swallowing;
- Muscle weakness, stiffness, or soreness;
- Purple or violet colored upper eyelids;
- Purple-red skin rash; and
- Shortness of breath.
The muscle weakness may appear suddenly or slowly over weeks or months. An individual with the condition may have difficulty raising his or her arms overhead, difficulty rising from a sitting position and difficulty climbing stairs. The rash may appear over the face, hands (knuckles), neck, shoulders, upper chest, and back.
Signs and Diagnostic Tests
The doctor will perform a physical exam. Tests may include:
- Bloods test to check levels of creatine phosphokinase and aldolase;
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); and
- Muscle biopsy.
The disease is treated with anti-inflammatory medicines such as corticosteroids and drugs that suppress the immune system.
When muscle strength improves, the patient’s doctor may tell the patient to slowly cut back on his or her doses. However, most individuals with the condition must take a medicine called prednisone indefinitely.
If the condition is associated with a tumor, the muscle weakness and rash may improve when the tumor is excised or removed.
Some individuals may experience a complete recovery and have their symptoms completely disappear. This is especially true with children. In adults, death may result from severe and prolonged muscle weakness, malnutrition, pneumonia, or lung failure. The major causes of death are cancer (malignancy) and lung disease.
Complications from this condition include:
- Acute renal failure;
- Cancer (malignancy);
- Inflammation of the heart;
- Joint pain; and
- Lung disease.
Dermatomyositis and Long Term Disability
Working with an experienced disability attorney will give you the best chance of getting the benefits you deserve for your dermatomyositis. Even if you have been denied benefits, that does not mean your fight is over. Many people are denied benefits the first time they apply. You have the right to file an appeal and try to get more information that may help your case. Getting expert help is often the difference between being denied and being approved for benefits.
While the process can be daunting, your experienced disability attorney will be able to guide you through the process. They do not get paid until you win your case. You can seek help without worrying about upfront costs or unexpected bills.
The Ortiz Law Firm has successfully represented people in disability cases across the United States. If you would like to talk to an experienced disability lawyer about your dermatomyositis and its impact on your ability to work, call us at (888) 321-8131. We would be happy to evaluate your case and to discuss how to help you through the appeal process.