If you’re living with heart disease and struggling to maintain steady employment, you’re not alone. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack. Nationwide, we lose hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity every year due to cardiac issues like coronary artery disease and heart failure.
At Bryant Legal Group, we understand how deeply these conditions can impact your life, finances, and future. That’s why we help people with heart disease file their long-term disability claims. Below, we outline the essentials that every heart disease survivor needs to know.
What Is Heart Disease?
Your heart is a complex organ that helps circulate blood, transport oxygen and nutrients, and remove waste products from your body. It’s made up of four chambers that pump blood, arteries, valves that regulate blood flow, and a conduction system that keeps your heart beating. When any one of these systems is damaged or malfunctions, the results can be catastrophic.
About 735,000 people will have a heart attack this year — and one in three will die from heart disease. While heart disease is incredibly common, many people don’t understand its many forms or how it can impact your professional and personal life.
Common forms of heart disease include the following conditions.
When you have arrhythmia, your heart beats irregularly. It can cause lightheadedness, dizziness, shortness of breath, fainting spells, and a fluttering sensation in your chest.
If your heart muscles become weak, you can develop cardiomyopathy. As the condition progresses, you may notice dizziness, shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling in your ankles and feet, and irregular heartbeats.
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
The most common form of heart disease, coronary artery disease narrows, hardens, and blocks blood vessels and arteries. It can cause chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath, fatigue, nausea, pain or weakness in your arms and legs, and pain in your jaw, throat, or back. CAD can also cause a heart attack or stroke if a blood clot blocks blood flow to the heart or brain.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction/MI)
During a heart attack, a blood clot or plaque blocks one of your coronary arteries, limiting blood flow to the heart. Because your heart tissues aren’t getting the oxygen and nutrients they need, they will start to die. Heart attacks are associated with chest, arm, and jaw pain, shortness of breath, nausea, and lightheadedness.
Heart Valve Issues
Your heart valves serve a vital purpose: directing blood flow through your heart. Sometimes, these valves start to narrow, leak, or improperly close. This can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, fainting, and chest pain. As your heart muscles thicken and become rigid, cardiomyopathy can result in heart failure.
You may think that heart failure means your heart stops working altogether, but that’s not true. Instead, your heart’s ability to pump and move blood decreases, and your body may not get the oxygen it needs to thrive.
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After a Heart Attack or Heart Disease Diagnosis, What Should I Expect?
A heart disease diagnosis is always frightening and often overwhelming. However, your prognosis and treatment plan will depend on many factors, including your activity and exercise tolerances, age, family medical history, gender, and the severity of your disease. Your physician will also consider whether you have pre-existing conditions that may increase your risk of complications — such as diabetes, COPD, and cancer.
Based on your unique circumstances, your medical team will assess your situation and recommend a treatment plan, which may include:
- Diagnostic tests such as electrocardiograms (EEG), stress tests, and cardiac catheterization
- Lifestyle modifications such as diet, smoking cessation, and exercise
- Physical and occupational therapy
Your doctor will also provide you with a series of restrictions that may limit your ability to work. For example, they may suggest that you avoid pulmonary irritants, extreme temperatures, unprotected heights, or high-stress work environments.
Depending on your experience and education, your heart disease symptoms and doctor-prescribed restrictions may prevent you from maintaining steady employment.
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Should I Apply for LTD due to My Heart Disease?
While some people continue to work after a heart disease diagnosis, many cannot. In a 2016 survey, researchers evaluated data collected from almost 21,500 people who were hospitalized for heart failure. They were surprised to discover that within a year of hospitalization or diagnosis, one-third of those surveyed were no longer working.
You may be eligible for LTD or other disability insurance benefits if you are either unable to do your own occupation or any full-time work, depending on the language of your insurance policy.
Before you apply for LTD benefits, you should talk to your doctor about your symptoms and your struggles at work, and seek their advice about next steps for your professional career. If your physician supports your disability claim, it’s time to schedule an appointment with an experienced disability insurance lawyer at Bryant Legal Group.
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We take a practical and hands-on approach to heart disease and LTD claims. Our legal team carefully evaluates medical records, work histories, and long-term disability plan documents before they craft a personalized strategy for a client. Then, based on the evidence and our experience with the disability insurance company, we fight for the benefits that our clients deserve.
Bryant Legal Group: Guiding Heart Attack and Heart Disease Survivors Through Their Disability Claims
Bryant Legal Group is one of Chicago’s premier disability insurance law firms. We assist disabled individuals and their loved ones with their LTD, STD, and other related claims, focusing on our clients’ best interests and long-term goals.
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