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Long-Term Disability Benefits and Sjrogen’s Syndrome

By Matt Lalande in Uncategorized on October 23, 2022

Long-Term Disability Benefits and Sjrogen’s Syndrome

Long-Term Disability Benefits and Sjrogen’s Syndrome

An autoimmune disorder is a condition in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake. Autoimmune disorders can affect any part of the body, including the joints, skin, lungs, heart, and blood. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune disorders, and they are conditions that can develop at any age. Examples of autoimmune disorders include lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, and Type 1 diabetes.

One of the best-known autoimmune disorders is Sjogren’s Syndrome, which is an autoimmune disease that affects the moisture-producing glands in the body. While there is no cure for autoimmune disorders or Sjogren’s Syndrome, treatments are available to help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Unfortunately, for many who suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome, treatment options are not enough symptoms become overwhelming, depression develops and life as they know it, including the ability to work, is a constant struggle.

In this article, our Hamilton Disability Lawyers write about Sjrogen’s Syndrome, whether Sjrogen’s Syndrome is covered by disability benefits and what to do if your long-term disability benefits have been denied or terminated.

What is Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjogren’s Syndrome is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of unknown origin. The disease was discovered by Dr. Henrik Sjogren – a Swedish eye doctor who first described the disorder which stemmed from its main symptoms are dryness of the eyes and mouth. The disorder causes your immune system to go awry, thereby attacking your healthy cells rather than invading viruses or bacteria. Your white blood cells, which normally protect you from germs and infection, invade or infiltrate your glands, salivary glands, and other exocrine tissues resulting in a decrease in the production of tears and saliva thereby severely drying out your eyes, mouth, and other parts of your body such as your skin, vagina, upper respiratory tract, lungs, kidneys, nervous system, and nose. With Sjogren’s Syndrome the mucous membranes and moisture-secreting glands of your eyes and mouth are often affected first which in turn leads to a severely decreasing amount of tears and saliva.

Sjögren’s syndrome can also affect other parts of the body, including the lungs, liver, and nervous system. Sjögren’s syndrome is often diagnosed in middle-aged women, but it can occur at any age. There is no cure for Sjögren’s syndrome, but treatments are available to help relieve the symptoms.

Sjogren’s syndrome is classified as primary or secondary. Primary Sjogren’s syndrome occurs on its own, With no other rheumatic diseases or autoimmune diseases. Secondary Sjogren’s syndrome occurs in conjunction with another autoimmune disease, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. While primary Sjögren’s syndrome is less common, it is more likely to cause serious complications.

Treatment for Sjögren’s syndrome focuses on relieving the symptoms. Common treatments include artificial tears, mouthwashes, and medications to improve saliva production. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to replace damaged salivary glands. With treatment, most people with Sjögren’s syndrome can live normal, active lives. However, the disease can cause serious complications in some people such as dental cavities, difficulty swallowing, malnutrition, and pneumonia. In rare cases, Sjögren’s syndrome can lead to lymphoma. Sjögren’s syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disease that requires lifelong management.

What are the main symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome?

The symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome can vary from person to person, but they typically include dryness of the eyes, mouth, and skin; joint pain; and swollen glands.  Fatigue also markedly worsens a person’s quality of life.

For a person with Sjogren’s syndrome, dry eyes Will normally result in severe itching, burning, a feeling of sand in the eyes, blurry vision, and intolerance of bright or fluorescent lighting.

A dry mouth can feel quite chalky, or have a cotton feeling. A person with Sjogren’s syndrome may also experience difficulty in swallowing and tasting food, as well as issues with the tissue in the oral cavity. Individuals with Sjogren’s syndrome Are at risk of tooth decay and infections in the mouth.

Some other signs and symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome may also include:

  • Difficulty in speaking
  • swollen salivary glands which are located behind the John in front of the eyes
  • persistent and recurring oral thrush
  • Tired and heavy-looking eyes
  • Aching muscles
  • headaches
  • lung disease
  • heartburn
  • acid reflux
  • brain fog
  • peripheral neuropathy
  • trouble sleeping
  • difficulty breathing and
  • shortness of breath.

In some cases, Sjogren’s syndrome can also lead to more serious complications, such as pneumonia, kidney disease, or peripheral neuropathy. Sjogren’s syndrome can also cause problems with other organs in the body, such as blood vessels, lungs, liver, pancreas, and central nervous system. A person with Sjogren’s syndrome May also develop inflammation in connective tissues, which provide strength and flexibility throughout the body. Extraglandular involvement May lead to painful inflammation of the joints and muscles, dry, itchy skin, and skin rashes. It may also lead to a chronic cough, a raspy voice, kidney and liver issues, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, chronic and extreme tiredness that is severe enough to affect activities of daily living, and in serious cases, lymphoma.

Causes of Sjogren’s Syndrome 

The cause of Sjögren’s syndrome is still highly unknown, but it is thought to be related to a combination of genetic and environmental factors – such as viral and bacterial infections – although medical professionals have greatly agreed over the years that the underlying cause of Sjogren’s syndrome is mainly genetic. Menopause is the most common time for a diagnosis of Sjogren’s syndrome, With some studies theorizing that estrogen may protect against Sjogren’s syndrome, and falling levels of the hormone may change immune function and trigger the condition.

Medical studies of also shown that Sjogren’s syndrome generally occurs in individuals with one or more of the following risk factors:

  • females are much more likely to develop Sjogren’s syndrome than men;
  • It is more common for individuals who have Sjogren’s syndrome to also have rheumatic disease or other autoimmune conditions such as lupus for rheumatoid arthritis;
  • age is also a factor. Sjogren’s syndrome is typically diagnosed in individuals older than 40.

Complications of Sjogren’s Syndrome

Medical studies have shown that there is a slightly increased risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, for those who suffer Sjogren’s syndrome. Some of the more common complications however include:

  • chronic vaginal yeast infections
  • chronic oral thrush
  • dental cavities due to lack of saliva
  • gingivitis or inflammation of the gums
  • problems with vision
  • Numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • chronic pneumonia
  • chronic bronchitis
  • kidney failure
  • hepatitis or cirrhosis of the liver
  • depression and anxiety

Does long-term disability cover Sjogren’s Syndrome?

For those with chronic and serious symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome – work disability may of course occur – resulting in individuals requiring long-term disability benefits.

The main question is does long-term disability benefits cover Sjogren’s syndrome? The answer of course is to speak to a disability lawyer. In our experience, an individual with serious symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome will be able to satisfy the definition of total disability. In most long-term disability policies, the definition of total disability in the first 24 months is that an individual will be considered totally disabled if his or her condition prevents that person from completing the substantial duties of his or her own employment. This is known as the own occupation Disability test. Then, after 24 months, there is a change of definition that occurs. At this juncture, a disability claimant must prove that he or she is unable to perform the substantial duties of any occupation for which he or she is reasonably suited by way of education training and experience. It is very important you speak to a disability lawyer about the definitions of total disability and whether or not your disability policy will cover Sjogren’s syndrome.

What do I do if I’ve been denied long-term disability and I suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome?

It is important that you contact a long-term disability lawyer to discuss your situation as there might be a significant amount of issues to explore. For example, were you denied long-term disability benefits after an independent medical exam? Was that Dr. specialized in Sjogren’s syndrome or autoimmune diseases? Did your long-term disability carrier have all relevant medical documentation and productions prior to terminating your benefits? Did your disability claims adjuster speak with you and speak with your doctor? Is your disability claims adjuster overriding your family doctor’s advice in terms of work?

There are many symptoms which may prevent a person from completing the substantial duties of his or her own employment, such as brain fog. Brain fog is Well-known symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome. Brain fog is a condition that can cause a variety of symptoms, including memory problems, difficulty concentrating, and a general feeling of mental fatigue. The condition is often associated with work disability, as the cognitive impairments caused by brain fog can make it difficult to complete even simple tasks – let alone multitasking.

Fatigue is another well-documented symptom of Sjogren’s syndrome. In some cases, the fatigue associated with Sjogren’s syndrome may be so severe that it leads to chronic fatigue. Chronic fatigue is a condition characterized by extreme tiredness that does not improve with rest. Chronic fatigue can make it difficult to perform even simple tasks, and it often interferes with a person’s ability to work. In fact, chronic fatigue is one of the most common reasons for workplace absenteeism. Chronic fatigue can also pose a safety hazard, as it can lead to mistakes being made due to lack of focus. Again, it is important to contact a disability lawyer to learn about your full rights if you suffer from Sjrogen’s Syndrome and your disability benefits have been terminated.

Depression is a serious medical condition that can negatively impact every area of a person’s life. It can cause feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and anxiety. Sjogren’s syndrome and depression often go hand-in-hand. Depression is a common but serious mental illness that can interfere with a person’s ability to work. It can affect many aspects of life, including work. It can cause a loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable and difficulty concentrating. Depression can make it hard to get out of bed, go to work, or even take care of basic self-care. Depression can also increase the risk of accidents and mistakes at work – thus leading to absenteeism. It has been associated with both absenteeism and decreased productivity (presenteeism) and is the number one cause of work impairment in North America.

There are many other symptoms of Sjogren’s syndrome which may result in an individual being unemployable. The dryness symptoms, for example, can also be very inconvenient and uncomfortable. Chronic oral thrush could be very embarrassing, thus contributing to anxiety and depression. Accompanying rheumatic disease could be highly disabling. If a person works in a physical job, vision issues caused by prolonged and persistent dryness of the eyes could result in a safety issue. Difficulty speaking and tooth decay could be an impediment in certain positions for which individuals are reasonably suited by way of education training and experience. A person with Sjogren’s syndrome whose long-term disability benefits have been terminated or denied should speak to a long-term disability lawyer to weigh their options and learn their legal rights.

Do you suffer from Sjogren’s Syndrome and have your long-term disability benefits been denied or terminated?

Matt Lalande is a long-term disability lawyer in Hamilton who has been representing disability claimants all over Ontario since 2003. Most of our practice specializes in representing disability claimants – at all stages of disability claims litigation. If your long-term disability benefits have been denied or terminated in you suffer from Sjogren’s syndrome it’s important that you speak to our long-term disability lawyers. Do not try and appeal your claim on your own. Disability insurance companies know that you are most likely going through a difficult time, with respect to your disability and financially, and as a result, you may not be at your best or you may not be prepared to fight the insurance company on your own.

We would be happy to help you get the benefits you need and deserve. Call us no matter where you are in Ontario at 1-844-LALANDE or local in the Southern Ontario region at 905-333-8888. Alternatively, you can send us a confidential email through our website – and we would be happy to explain your long-term disability rights and legal options to you, at no cost.

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5 FAQ Article Summary

Does long-term disability benefits cover Sjrogen’s Syndrome?

Yes, long-term disability benefits covers so long as you satisfy the definition of total disability As defined in your own individual or group disability policy.

What should I do if I suffer from Sjogren’s syndrome and I have been denied long-term disability?

If you suffer from Sjrogen’s Syndrome and you have been denied long-term disability, it’s important that you speak to an experience disability lawyer to learn your legal rights and get your disability benefits back on track. Matt Lalande is one of Ontario’s well-known disability lawyers and has been practicing disability litigation for 20 years. We would suggest calling him today.

How do I qualify for long-term disability if I suffer from Sjrogen’s Syndrome?

Individuals with Sjrogen’s Syndrome serious symptoms, such as difficulty speaking, neuropathy, shortness of breath, chronic oral thrush, dental issues, problems with vision etc. should have no problem qualifying for long-term disability.

Our consultations with your disability lawyer’s free?

Yes, our disability lawyers and Hamilton are more than happy to speak to you about your disability situation for free. We never charge consultation fees and are happy to speak to you for as long as you need.

What disability lawyer has experience with Sjrogen’s Syndrome?

Hamilton long-term disability lawyer Matt Lalande has dealt with the claimants who suffer from Sjrogen’s Syndrome and other autoimmune disorders. Matt Lalande is located in Hamilton and serves disability claimants all over Ontario. You can reach him by calling 905-333-8888.

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