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Is Osteoporosis a Disability?

Posted on by Ken LaVan

Osteoporosis is a condition that causes bones to be porous and fragile.  This can cause the bones to break easily. 

Osteoporosis happens when your bones become less able to make new bone as quickly as the old bone breaks down.  Osteoporosis can be considered a disability if it prevents you from working.

Who Usually Develops Osteoporosis?

Anyone can develop osteoporosis.  However, there are certain risk factors that can increase your likeliness to develop osteoporosis.  These risk factors can include:

  • Sex – more women than men get osteoporosis
  • Age – you are at higher risk to develop osteoporosis the older you are
  • Diet – low calcium levels, anorexia and weight loss surgery can increase your risk
  • Lifestyle – you are at higher risk if you sit around a lot, drink a lot of alcohol or use tobacco
  • Medications

In early stages, osteoporosis often does not have any signs or symptoms.  However, in more advanced stages, osteoporosis can cause:

  • Loss of height
  • Changes in posture
  • Back pain

Typically, osteoporosis alone will not qualify you for Social Security benefits.  However, there are symptoms and related health problems that might affect your ability to work.

Evidence needed for your osteoporosis diagnosis

Medical evidence includes your doctor’s treatment notes, test results and imaging.

  • Difficulty or an inability to ambulate effectively, such as your ability to walk reasonable distances or to use stairs
  • The need for an assistive device such as a cane, walker, or crutches
  • Any pain with movement of your bones or joints
  • Problems using your hands
  • Difficulty traveling places without assistance
  • Difficulty performing activities of daily living such as shopping, cooking, cleaning, using public transportation, bathing or getting dressed

Specific tests related to osteoporosis include:

  • Bone mineral density test.  This tests the strength of your bones.  It can also be called a DXA scan. 
  • Blood tests that include
    • Calcium levels,
    • Thyroid levels,
    • Vitamin D levels,
    • Alkaline Phosphatase,
    • Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) or
    •  Parathyroid (PTH)

Treatment for Osteoporosis

Treatment for osteoporosis can include medications and lifestyle changes.It is important that your doctor document side effects from medications response to medication surgeries or procedures related to fractures related medical complications

Listings of Medical Impairments

This is also known as the “Blue Book.”  Osteoporosis is not one of the medical impairments included in the Blue Book.  However, you might match a listing under another section.

Since osteoporosis can cause your bones to break easily, Listings 1.06 and 1.07 might apply.  These listings provide specific criteria for fractures or broken bones in the upper and lower body.  

osteoporosis due to other conditions such as cancer, thyroid disorders

If you have one of these conditions, you might match the listings under 9.00 for endocrine disorders.These include:

  • Pituitary gland disorders
  • Thyroid gland disorders
  • Parathyroid gland disorders
  • Adrenal gland disorders
  • Diabetes and other pancreatic gland disorders, including
    • Hyperglycemia (high levels of glucose),
    • Hypoglycemia (low levels of glucose) and
    • Diabetic ketoacidosis

What if your osteoporosis does not meet the Blue Book listings?

You can still qualify for Social Security disability benefits if you do not meet the Blue Book listings.  However, you must show that your osteoporosis keeps you from working. 

Social Security will need to assess your residual functional capacity (RFC.)  Your RFC is what you can do despite your medical conditions.   Your doctor can help clarify your RFC by providing certain information about your osteoporosis. 

For example, you may need to use extreme caution performing certain activities due to a higher risk of breaking your bones, such as bending or lifting.  You may have problems standing, walking or sitting for long periods of time due to joint pain, especially in your back, hips, knees or ankles. 

You may also have difficulty reaching, grasping or holding items because of joint pain in your hands or arms. 

Your doctor can help explain these limitations in an RFC form.  Your doctor should be specific with any limitations related to these activities.  They should include:

  • How long you can sit, stand or walk at one time or in an eight hour day
  • Maximum weight you can lift or carry
  • How frequently you can use your arms and hands
  • Your pain levels
  • Side effects from medications

You want to provide as much documentation and records as possible related to your osteoporosis.  You should see your doctor consistently and continue to have regular testing for your osteoporosis. 

Disability Help Group, Call Now for a Free Case Review, 800-700-0652

Make sure you start your claim the right way and apply for all the benefits you deserve. If you have already applied for SSI or SSDI, call immediately to make sure your case is still pending and was filed correctly. You may be entitled to significant compensation. Contact us now for a free consultation.

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