Risk of heart disease rises in those who suffer from asthma

Suffering from asthma can be extremely frightening. One moment, you may be breathing perfectly; minutes later, you’re left gasping for breath, wondering if you’re going to pass out. This affects more than 23 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and in certain instances can be debilitating enough to obtain disability benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Adding to the horrors of asthma which already exist are studies that have come from the 2014 American Heart Association‘s Scientific Sessions, which found those who suffer from asthma may also have an increased risk of heart attack.

Assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health, and one of the studies’ authors, Matthew C. Tattersall, found that patients with asthma are 60 percent more at risk for experiencing a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular risks.

In another study, this time authored by Young J. Juhn, M.D.,  a professor of pediatrics and adolescent medicine at the Mayo Clinic, found patients who have asthma are 70 percent more likely to have a heart attack.

Both of these studies go to show that asthma sufferers must frequently visit with their doctor to ensure the illness does not get out of hand. SSA disability benefits are available for extreme cases, but having baseline visits with a doctor will help treatment in the long run.

While many people are affected by asthma symptoms, those that have asthma and cannot work must prove their case through medical evidence. Pulmonary tests and physician office notes are critical in convincing the SSA that the claimants asthma symptoms are severe enough to grant benefits. Children are also affected by the limitations caused by asthma and have the ability to bring a claim for SSA disability benefits.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates have successfully represented numerous clients who suffer from asthma in obtaining their Social Security disability benefits. Our firm has substantial expertise in obtaining benefits for asthmatics who cannot work.

Gland injury during concussions may worsen PTSD for veterans

The horrors of war have left many U.S. veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder. Many soldiers have been forced to turn to veterans benefits, treatment and more to get the help they need to cope with life after war after experiencing concussions from bomb blasts or extreme stress. A recent study from Saint Louis University found that some veterans may not suffer from a stress disorder, but hormonal irregularities from gland damage suffered during a concussion.

The university looked at brain scans from both civilians and military servicemembers, looking at patients with concussions and those with concussions and PTSD. In both, there were vast differences in metabolic activities of the pituitary gland.

Research leader Thomas Malone said higher metabolic activity in patients with both PTSD and concussions could be due to the gland working harder, likening it to having your car stuck in the snow but not being able to move when pressing the gas pedal.

Read more about this study on the Los Angeles Times website, but also be aware that options for treatment are available. The Department of Veterans Affairs has veterans benefits available for those suffering from PTSD, as this is a severe anxiety disorder that can have multiple harmful effects on health.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates has represented numerous veterans suffering from PTSD. It’s very important that the veteran seek treatment of PTSD as soon as they experience symptoms. The more medical evidence that is available to prove the claim, the better chance there is to obtain an earlier approval and higher rating for veterans benefits.

What does the midterm election mean for Social Security disability benefits?

There was a considerable shift in the political spectrum this month, as Republicans increased their lead in the House of Representatives and took over the lead in the U.S. Senate.

What does this mean for those who receive disability benefits through the Social Security Administration? Dan Caplinger of The Motley Fool said the chances are low that it will negatively impact disability benefits. In fact, he believes benefits may be enhanced in some cases.

“Despite some of their benefit-cutting proposals, some Republicans owe their victory at least in part to campaign strategies that emphasized the value of preserving Social Security benefits,” he wrote, adding that states such as Colorado, Arkansas and North Carolina all saw Republican ads highlighting the reasons why Social Security benefits needed to stay in tact.

One change Caplinger sees could happen to the Social Security Disability Trust fund, which has enough to last until 2016. However, this fund may see cuts of 20 percent after 2016. While there could be a solution for this, such as money transferred between this fund and the retirement benefits, this is definitely an issue to watch out for, especially for those who receive SSA disability benefits.

Hopefully, the SSA is sufficiently funded by Congress so benefits are not reduced. It is important for citizens, and the disabled especially, to communicate with their Congressmen and insist that the Social Security program is maintained. Anyone can unexpectedly become disabled and need SSA disability benefits; we must ensure they are there for us.

Early treatment necessary to treat OCD in young children

Anxiety, stress, depression. These are not usually attributes that might be associated with a child but are very real in children with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Suffering may include loss of sleep, increased anxiety and even causing harm to themselves or others. Disability benefits from the Social Security Administration are available for children who suffer, but diagnosis and treatment should be every parent’s aim.

Janet Singer wrote on PsychCentral that while rituals are an important part of helping young children understand the world, children with OCD will only experience “a fleeting calm” once they complete their ritual. This means that over the days, months and years, children will likely develop even more rituals they feel they need to take on. Parents should take note of which rituals are soothing for children for more than a few minutes and pay attention to how long the child performs rituals on a daily basis.

Treatment is the best option for children suffering from OCD. Not only is a record of treatment necessary to attain disability benefits from the SSA, it will also help fight the disease. The New York Times reported that when properly treated, 60 percent to 85 percent of patients see significant improvement and will remain better for years.

“If you suspect, for any reason, that your child might be suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder, I’d suggest taking him or her to a doctor who can do a proper assessment,” Singer wrote on PsychCentral. “If your child doesn’t have OCD, you will have peace of mind, and if your child does have the disorder, he or she can benefit greatly from early therapy.”

Children affected by OCD require sustained medical treatment. Social Security benefits are available for these children. However, many children who suffer from this disorder will be denied benefits by the SSA.

To prevent denial of benefits, it is important for the parents to secure all relevant medical and school evidence in order to document the symptoms that affect their child’s daily activities and limitations.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick & Associates are expert and zealous advocates on behalf of children seeking disability benefits as a result of suffering from OCD and other mental illnesses.

VA may not be ready for wave of veterans affected by PTSD

The numbers have been shocking. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs said 11 to 20 percent of veterans were affected by post-traumatic stress disorder during Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The number was estimated at 12 percent during the Gulf War and 15 percent during Vietnam. While veterans benefits are available through the VA, many still have to live with the horrors of war on an everyday basis.

The Huffington Post quotes Sandro Galea, who said we may be on the “cusp of a wave of PTSD,” meaning VA and Congress may not be prepared for the amount of troops who are mentally scarred by war. The website spoke with Akshay Nanavati, a six-year marine corps veteran who said he struggles with PTSD every day.

Coming home, he said life seemed very unstructured and meaningless. He also experienced guilt over not dying and had to learn how to reconnect with people.

Thousands of veterans suffer from PTSD and are entitled to veterans benefits and mental health treatment. PTSD can come in many different forms; it is important to be properly diagnosed to get the best possible treatment for the disease.

PTSD is the great silent killer of our veterans. It’s a fact that veteran suicides are on the rise and many more of those returning home are mentally disabled from their wartime experiences. Although the VA is attempting to treat the Veterans who are suffering from PTSD, their efforts often fail due to lack of an appropriate number of medical providers or Veteran non compliance with established VA treatment protocols.

It is important for Veterans to seek medical treatment as soon as PTSD symptoms become apparent. The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates are knowledgeable and zealous advocates in proving PTSD claims and winning benefits.

Mental disability affecting more children

It’s one of the biggest fears of every parent: a child who is physically or mentally disabled. AAP News, a newsmagazine by The American Academy of Pediatrics, said while there are fewer children who are physically disabled, a higher rate are now diagnosed with mental illness.

The report, originally published in Pediatrics, found that the number of children under the age of 18 with a disability rose from 6.9 to 7.9 percent, or 4.99 million to 5.91 million, from 2001 to 2011. While the rate of children affected by physical ailments shrunk over that decade, the number of children with a mental disorder grew more than 20 percent.

Mental disability was found to know no bounds or social status, as even homes well above the poverty line experienced a vast increase in children affected.

Parents may have a hard time figuring out what to do when they find out their son or daughter has been diagnosed with autism, anxiety, depression or another mental disorder. However, not all hope is lost. While disability benefits from the Social Security Administration may not solve every problem, the additional money can help pay doctors bills and ensure your child is getting the best possible treatment for their disability.

While mental illness is on the rise among children, the proof necessary to convince the SSA that a child meets the their definition of disability is critical to obtaining benefits. Attaining physicians notes and reports, IEP reports, schools records and psychological testing are necessary to convince SSA judges of the merits of a child’s disability claim.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates are expert advocates in these cases and have successfully represented numerous children suffering from mental illness before SSA judges.

Helping veterans reduce the suffering of PTSD

Many veterans come home from war with new physical ailments that will need to be treated. However, the Department of Veterans Affairs said up to 20 percent of the 2.3 million veterans who returned from Iraq and Afghanistan experience post-traumatic stress disorder at some point of their lives, which affects mental health far more than physical health. This can lead to depression, anxiety and, in some cases, even suicide.

While veterans can receive disability benefits from the VA to help with bills while PTSD is being treated, other tools may be helpful as well. One recent study, published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress, found that yoga may be a great way for veterans to fight against the mental anguish that PTSD brings.

Agnieszka Golec de Zavala, senior lecturer in psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London, said yoga can help veterans move away from many of the negative thoughts and feelings that PTSD can bring, according to The Washington Post. He said an increased focus on breathing will help keep the veteran in the present and help them better understand and control their internal state. Simply knowing their pain, discomfort or anxiety will soon pass can be of great comfort to a veteran or any sufferer of PTSD.

Veterans who suffer from PTSD should not stop seeing doctors or getting medical advice, but yoga could be an extra tool to help ease some of the suffering involved with this disorder.

PTSD can be a lifelong medical condition that veterans must manage with treatment. Too many resort to self treatment, such as alcohol or drugs, and many do not seek professional treatment. Private medical providers and VA can help veterans manage their PTSD symptoms.

Veterans should also consider applying for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration if their PTSD symptoms are severe enough to prevent their employment. There are private medical help and cash benefits available to veterans from the SSA.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates are committed advocates for veterans and their families in the effort to secure the benefits they are entitled.

Washington Post spotlights huge SSA disability backlog

At our offices, we see those terribly affected by disability on a daily basis. Many will end up waiting months, if not years, to be helped by Social Security Administration disability benefits. In Cook County alone, there are 158,840 people who receive disability benefits, unable to work in due to mental illness or physical disability.

However, the general public may not know just how backed up the SSA is and how many people are desperately in need of help. Reporters at The Washington Post wrote a long feature this month showcasing the problems of the SSA disability system, starting by highlighting the fact that there are nearly one million cases in backlog.

“I had two claimants on my docket this past month. . . . They died. They died. Waiting for a hearing,” said Carol Pennock, a Social Security judge told the Washington Post on just how serious the backlog can be.

Currently, there are 1,445 SSA administrative judges. That means that for each judge, there is nearly 700 backlogged cases waiting for their approval or denial by the SSA. This does not take into account new applicants for SSA disability benefits or the fact that some areas, such as Chicago, are more populated and will likely be much deeper into the backlog.

There is nothing new about the the SSA claim backlog, as it has existed for many years. The numbers have varied over the years, but the effect is the same: justice delayed is justice denied.

Although judges have numerous cases to decide, there is also the problem of the size of the SSA staff available to assist in the hearing process. Bench decisions and attorney adviser decisions were helpful in pushing out favorable results for clients, both of which were helped by SSA staff, but those methods of rendering decisions are no longer common. Why? Only SSA executives in charge truly know.

A claimant seeking expeditious justice only have their attorneys and local congressmen to help them. We at The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates strives to do everything in our power to push our clients’ cases to favorable decisions.

Speeding up the process of veterans benefits

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has taken a lot of flack over the past few years when it comes to veterans benefits, and rightfully so. The backlog of those waiting for their benefits has been on the uprise for years, with the average wait time for benefits skyrocketing to 923 days by the end of 2013. Many were simply not getting the treatment they needed.

However, VA officials have announced plans they hope will speed up the process of disability claims and appeals. A new standardized set of forms from the VA aims to make it easier for veterans and their families to get the benefits they so desperately need.

VA Secretary Robert McDonald said in a press release that it is his department’s goal to do everything they can to ensure veterans receive an accurate decision on their claim.

“Our veterans and survivors will know, at the outset of the claims process, what is needed, which removes subjective interpretation from the process,” McDonald said. “We want to eliminate any barriers that make it difficult for our veterans or survivors to receive benefits to which they are entitled.”

These new regulations are set to be in place by March 2015, according to VA. However, it is important to remember that we have heard claims that the process will improve before. There have been years of work on a system to eliminate backlog, which peaked in early 2013 at more than 611,000. The backlog still sits at more than 300,000 veterans.

Veterans who want to ensure they receive their benefits should seek the assistance of a trained attorney. This can make the process of attaining maximum benefits much easier.

The Law Offices of Harold W. Conick and Associates is based in Wheaton, Illinois and committed to assisting veterans obtain the maximum benefit from their claims. The process is complicated and lengthy, but veterans must be persistent in pressing their entitlement to service connected benefits.

Mini-strokes may cause PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is usually associated with veterans returning from war, those who have had near-death experiences or people who have been abused. However, a recent study from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany reported that mini-strokes could also cause PTSD, even in cases where they do not cause lasting physical damage.

PTSD can be a long-lasting ailment that is extremely difficult to deal with. Those who suffer can qualify for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration if their case is strong enough. As this study showed, nearly a third of patients who suffered from a transient ischemic attack developed PTSD symptoms, including anxiety and depression.

Kathrin Utz, a researcher in the department of neurology, told HealthDay Reporter that doctors usually don’t put much weight into TIAs. However, they could lead sufferers to have PTSD and experience flashbacks, social isolation and nightmares, among other symptoms. To an onlooker, this may not seem bad, but PTSD can cause depression, lost sleep and a much lower quality of life over time.

About five out of 1,000 people experience TIAs in their lifetime. If you believe you are experiencing PTSD after a mini-stroke, it is a good idea to start seeing a doctor immediately to start fighting the problem immediately. SSA administrative law judges will also need to see patients taking a proactive approach to their PTSD before awarding disability benefits.

Our attorneys are very familiar with how to use the evidence and legal arguments required to win a PTSD case. Medical evidence, including all treatment records, are vital in convincing an SSA law administrative judge of the merits of a client’s case for disability benefits.