Mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is one of the three major forms of mast cell disease (MCD). With MCAS, the immune system causes mast cells to behave abnormally and overproduce a chemical called mast cell mediators. This mediator release causes symptoms of an allergic reaction that can affect multiple organ systems. Body systems that are commonly affected include the gastrointestinal tract, the skin, and the lining of airways.
Can I Get Long Term Disability Due To MCAS?
Depending on the severity and the frequency, these symptoms can cause long term disability. In some cases, the symptoms are life threatening. However, due to its complex nature and the variety of symptoms, winning a disability claim based on MCAS can be challenging.
Symptoms of MCAS That Can Be Disabling
The most dangerous symptom is anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening. Other signs and symptoms include skin rashes, itching, flushing, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, rapid heart rate, low blood pressure, and fatigue.
There are also cognitive symptoms of MCAS. Cognitive symptoms include brain fog, anxiety, and poor short term memory. This wide variety of symptoms and diagnostic criteria can make MCAS challenging to diagnose, often leading to delayed or incorrect diagnosis.
MCAS, EDS and POTS
MCAS, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), and postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) often occur in the same patient. There is no clear explanation as to why these syndromes tend to present as co-morbidities.
Some scientists believe MCAS can cause EDS and POTS, while others believe EDS can trigger MCAS. Many people with MCAS also have symptoms that are caused by EDS and POTS. If you have MCAS, you may want to ask your doctor if your symptoms could be due to another condition.
How Do I Get Long Term Disability For MCAS?
To be eligible for disability benefits, you must demonstrate that your MCAS symptoms significantly impair your ability to work. The complex nature and wide-ranging symptoms of MCAS can make this process difficult.
A disability insurer may struggle to understand the condition’s chronic, uncertain nature and its impact on daily life. The physical, cognitive, and emotional symptoms of MCAS may not fit neatly into the categories outlined by disability evaluations. The episodic nature of symptoms can further complicate matters.
However, this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to secure disability benefits for MCAS. Obtaining a definitive diagnosis from a doctor that is familiar with MCAS will improve your chances of being approved for benefits.
Diagnosis of MCAS
There is no one test that can confirm that a claimant suffers from MCAS. Getting a diagnosis of MCAS starts with your doctor determining whether your symptoms are typical symptoms of MCAS. Your doctor will also consider whether another condition such as systemic mastocytosis, EDS, or POTS is responsible for your symptoms.
Mast cell mediators should be measured at baseline and during attacks to check for elevations. Blood and urine tests can also show signs of MCAS. Finally, improvement with common MCAS treatment completes the diagnosis. Antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers, anti-leukotrienes, and other medications are commonly used to treat MCAS.
Documenting Your Symptoms
While MCAS is a relatively new and often misunderstood diagnosis. Furthermore, many of the symptoms are “subjective”, which means they cannot be confirmed by objective medical testing. Subjective symptoms are very real, but also very difficult to prove.
For example, let’s say you suffer from brain fog and short term memory problems that prevent you from performing your duties. Your disability insurance carrier will be skeptical and may question your credibility. Consistently documenting your symptoms will help substantiate your claim with your insurer.
- Make sure your doctor is documenting all of your symptoms. Explain each of the physical and cognitive symptoms you have been experiencing at each appointment. If you suffer from any visible symptoms, such as hives or a rash, they should be recorded in the doctors observations.
- Keep a written record of your day-to-day symptoms. We recommend that our clients keep a log of how they feel and how their activities are limited by their symptoms.
- Consider a Functional Capacity Evaluation (FCE). An FCE helps prove the extent of your limitations and restrictions. Since the report is based on objective testing, they tend to be highly regarded by disability insurers and the courts.
- Obtain a vocational assessment. A vocational expert will evaluate a claimant’s work-related duties and their ability to perform them with MCAS.
You can build a strong case with medical evidence, statements from experts, and detailed descriptions of daily life challenges.
How Can A Long Term Disability Lawyer Help?
When dealing with complex conditions like MCAS, a skilled and knowledgeable disability attorney can be a game-changer. They can help navigate the often-bureaucratic and complicated process while advocating for you at every stage of your LTD claim.
An attorney can assist with:
- Documentation: An attorney can help ensure that all necessary medical documentation and evidence is collected. They can present the evidence in a way that clearly demonstrates the impact of MCAS on your ability to work. They can guide you in documenting your symptoms and their impacts on your daily life. A lawyer can even help obtain supportive statements from your doctors.
- Appeal Process: If your claim is denied, an attorney can help you understand the reasons for the denial. They can assist in gathering additional evidence and guide you through the appeals process.
- Expertise and Advocacy: Disability law can be complex, and having someone who understands the law can be beneficial. An attorney can use their knowledge and experience to advocate for you. They will ensure that your case is presented in the best possible light.
- Communication: An attorney can communicate on your behalf with the SSA, insurance companies, and other involved parties. This can be particularly beneficial if you’re dealing with fluctuating symptoms that might hinder your ability to do so effectively.
- Understanding the System: Navigating the world of disability insurance claims can be confusing and frustrating. An experienced attorney will understand the intricacies of your policy. They will ensure all deadlines are met, and procedures are followed correctly.
If you’re struggling with MCAS and pursuing disability benefits, remember that you don’t have to face this challenge alone. Engaging an attorney early in the process can make a significant difference in the outcome of your claim. They can provide much-needed support, expert advice, and advocacy, simplifying the process and improving your chances of a successful claim.
The disability claim process may seem daunting. However, with proper medical documentation and the right legal assistance, claimants with MCAS can secure the benefits they deserve.
A lawyer can turn a daunting process into a manageable one. This is particularly true for complex and often misunderstood conditions like MCAS. They can provide hope and relief for those struggling with this disabling condition. To speak to an experienced long term disability attorney at Ortiz Law Firm, call us today at (888) 321-8131.