Liver Disease and Disability Insurance: A Claimant’s Guide
Liver disease is more common than you might imagine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million Americans have a diagnosed liver disease, and roughly 42,000 people die every year as a result.
If you or someone you love is suffering from liver disease that affects your ability to do your job, you should understand your options for disability insurance claims. In this blog, the Bryant Legal Group team will outline what you need to know about liver disease, how it affects the body, and how you can strengthen your long-term disability claim.
How Does the Liver Function?
The liver is one of the most critical organs in your body. Roughly the size of a football, the liver can be found on the right side of your abdomen underneath the ribcage.
When your liver functions normally, it filters toxins out of the blood and produces bile that helps you digest food. The liver also helps process iron, produces amino acids, and helps convert waste products into urine.
The liver is the only organ in the body that can help replace cells once they’re damaged. However, when the liver itself becomes damaged as your liver disease progresses, it will no longer be able to function at 100%, and it may not be able to meet your body’s needs.
What Causes Liver Disease?
Liver disease can be inherited or caused by behaviors, medications, or certain viruses. Common causes include:
- A family history of liver disease
- Infected needles from drug use, tattoos, or piercings
- Exposure to other people’s body fluids, especially through unprotected sex
- Alcohol abuse
- Overuse of acetaminophen
Some other causes and complications can impact your likelihood of developing liver disease. If you have questions about your health and options, contact your doctor right away.
How Liver Disease Affects Your Body
There are many different types of liver disease, all of which present unique challenges. But no matter what kind of liver disease you have, they all generally progress in a similar way.
In the early stages of liver disease, the liver becomes inflamed. People with early-stage inflammation of the liver rarely feel symptoms. However, if the inflammation persists, it can damage the liver permanently.
If left unchecked, the inflamed liver tissue will scar; this process is known as fibrosis. The new scar tissue replaces healthy, functioning liver tissues, which means the liver’s ability to do its job decreases as the scar tissue forms. If you can catch the damage at this stage, there’s still a chance your liver can recover.
Once hard scars have replaced the liver’s soft, healthy tissue, the scar tissue can no longer help the body or function properly. If enough of the liver becomes scar tissue, the liver begins to fail, which can lead to complications. Many people only discover they have liver disease at this stage. Symptoms can include water buildup in the abdomen and limbs, jaundice, bruising easily, insulin resistance, and fatigue. Getting treatment at this stage can help prevent the disease from progressing.
Cancer or End-Stage Liver Disease
End-stage liver disease (also called liver failure) is a severe condition that can’t be reversed. People with severe decompensation, or organ failure, are almost exclusively treated with a liver transplant. Liver cancer can develop at any stage, but it commonly affects severely damaged livers.
Liver disease is a serious disease with many painful and debilitating symptoms. Struggling to cope with your new limitations and abilities is normal. If you need help managing your symptoms and professional responsibilities, contact your doctor right away.
Struggling With Liver Disease? Make Sure You Get Medical Treatment
If you’re dealing with any kind of liver disease, make sure you’re getting adequate medical care. Your doctor can help you understand what stage of development your disease is at, suggest lifestyle changes to support your liver health, or prescribe medication to help address symptoms. Not only is ignoring your doctor’s orders bad for your health, but it also gives the insurance company a reason to deny your disability claim.
Substance Use Could Affect Your Disability Insurance Claim
Alcohol and drug use are two critical factors that can affect your liver health. If your liver disease was caused or impacted by excessive alcohol use, you should understand your disability claim options. In this difficult situation, it’s in your best interest to contact a disability claims attorney who can help you navigate the process.
Bryant Legal Group: Experienced Chicago Disability Lawyers
If you or someone you love has liver disease and needs to understand the available legal options and how to navigate the long-term disability claim options, the Bryant Legal Group team is ready to guide you through the claims and appeal process. We work with clients throughout Illinois with their disability insurance claims, no matter how complex. We’re proud of our reputation for a client-focused, no-nonsense approach to handling cases.
We look forward to hearing from you!
American Liver Foundation. (2016). The Progression of Liver Disease. West Orange, NJ: Author. Retrieved from https://liverfoundation.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Progression_of_Liver_Disease.pdf
FastStats: Chronic Liver Disease and Cirrhosis. (2020, October 30). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/liver-disease.htm
Liver disease. (2020, February 21). Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/liver-problems/symptoms-causes/syc-20374502
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.