Last Updated on January 17, 2023
Introduction – Is asthma a disability?
Is asthma a disability? Asthma is a chronic illness that affects more than 8.3% of Americans and can lead to breathlessness, coughing, and wheezing. Asthma sufferers find it difficult to control their condition because the symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Asthmatics face many hardships when it comes to their overall health, well-being, and finances. When symptoms are severe, asthma sufferers require emergency medical attention and may be admitted to a hospital for treatment and monitoring.
Because asthma symptoms can drastically affect a person’s quality of life, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) classifies asthma as a disability. In this blog, we will discuss asthma’s signs, causes, and available treatments as well as what people can anticipate if they have this long-term health issue.
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Asthma is the most common chronic disease. Asthmatic bronchitis, chronic asthmatic bronchitis, and reactive airway disease are other names for it. Asthma usually starts in childhood or adolescence, but it can strike at any age.
Doctors are still unsure of its specific cause. Asthma is a well-known disease, but a strong immune reaction to something in the lungs is frequently the cause of asthma. The cornerstones of asthma treatment are avoiding the triggers and taking medications to lessen and prevent the symptoms. Having an asthma action plan that specifically outlines the medications and steps a person should take based on the severity of their symptoms is another essential element of proper treatment.
Although asthma is common, if a person does not use the right medication or take other steps to manage the condition, it can lead to serious problems.
Because of inflammation and tightening of the muscles surrounding the small airways, the airways in the lungs become narrow. Asthma symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
These symptoms come and go and are usually worse at night or during exercise. Other common triggers can exacerbate asthma symptoms. Triggers vary from person to person but can include viral infections (colds), dust, smoke, fumes, changes in weather, grass and tree pollen, animal fur and feathers, strong soaps, and perfume
Is Asthma a Disability?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a disability is any mental or physical condition that causes someone to limit their activities and their participation in daily life. This could include difficulty hearing, seeing, problem-solving, or walking, depending on the individual. The individual may face limitations in daily activities such as:
- Taking part in social activities
- Taking part in recreational activities like walking, swimming, meditation, reading, playing, etc.
- To obtain healthcare and preventive services
According to the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act (ADAA), the definition of disability should include conditions with symptoms that appear only at certain times. So, is asthma a disability? The answer is Asthma is one condition that fits this amendment, which means it is now classified as a disability under the law. Even if someone’s asthma symptoms only appear after being exposed to a trigger, anyone with asthma is disabled by definition.
Is Asthma a Disability Affected by Its Types?
Since the current laws classify asthma as a disability, you should know what type of asthma you have. Consider the following three common types.
Your symptoms are usually more noticeable at night. You may awaken with a cough, difficulty breathing, constricted airways, or chest pains. This type of asthma is very likely to be considered a disability in the workplace. Of course, this is dependent on the severity.
This type of asthma is common when you exercise. These asthma attacks are usually accompanied by shortness of breath. The asthma attack usually ends a few minutes after you stop exercising. For these types of asthma attacks, doctors usually prescribe an inhaler.
Allergens such as pollen or mold can trigger asthma attacks. A few over-the-counter medications have also been linked to asthma attacks.
Because these types of attacks occur during the day, your employer is more likely to classify them as a disability. Asthma is a chronic medical condition that must be treated. You could have another type, such as chronic asthmatic bronchitis. It is best to consult with your doctor to find out.
Can Asthmatics Gain Disability Benefits?
If your asthma is so severe that it prevents you from working, you can apply for Social Security disability benefits. Benefits from a disability make it simpler to pay for necessities like rent or a mortgage, food, and utilities. The only prerequisite for making a claim for disability benefits is that you must anticipate your condition will prevent you from working for at least a year.
If you have asthma, you should record your peak expiratory flow as well as your symptoms in a diary (PEF). Your symptoms and your activities should be noted in a symptom diary. In addition to assisting your doctor in prescribing the best course of treatment, documentation of worsening airflow under various circumstances, such as exercise in cold air, aids the Social Security Administration in determining the severity of your asthma.
To Earn Disability Benefits For Asthma:
When requesting disability benefits, you must demonstrate that you have been medically diagnosed with asthma, and the severity of your condition prevents you from working. You are required to keep up-to-date medical and clinical records, which should detail any treatments you receive and how you react to them over time. These records must attest to the seriousness of your condition and should detail how you respond to treatment.
The criteria for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary insufficiency is used to evaluate asthma that is linked to chronic asthmatic bronchitis.
Asthmatics are only eligible for disability benefits if they have prolonged asthma flare-ups (lasting at least a day) and are severe enough to necessitate “intensive” treatment, which the Social Security Administration (SSA) defines as:
- Intravenous bronchodilator
- Antibiotic administration
- Prolonged inhalational bronchodilator therapy in a hospital, emergency room, or equivalent setting
Furthermore, attacks must occur despite prescribed treatment, at least once every two months or at least six times a year, and necessitate the attention of a physician.
The SSA considers in-patient hospitalization lasting more than 24 hours to be two separate attacks. When assessing the frequency of your asthma attacks, the SSA requires treatment records for at least 12 months.
Is asthma a disability? Summary:
A disability is any condition that interferes with a person’s ability to go about their daily life. And for a condition to be considered a disability, symptoms do not always need to be present. As a result, asthma is now recognized by the law as a disability.
Most people are able to successfully control their asthma symptoms and lead normal and active lives. When asthma doesn’t respond well to treatment, however then, it can become crippling. In these situations, it is crucial to understand your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).