Celiac Disease and SSD
For some, the recent popularity of gluten-free foods might seem like just another health trend. But for people with celiac disease, a gluten-free diet isn’t just another fad. It’s a critical part of managing a chronic, often uncomfortable digestive disorder.
What is Celiac Disease?
When someone has celiac disease, it means that they are unable to eat gluten, a type of protein found in grains. Consuming gluten triggers their immune system, causing it to aggressively attack the gluten. While it does involve the immune system, it is different than a wheat allergy, and some people experience gluten sensitivity without having celiac disease.
People with celiac disease experience an array of unpleasant symptoms, including:
- Weight loss
Around 3 million people in the United States live with celiac disease, but an astounding 97% of them are undiagnosed. In many cases, people might experience intense discomfort after eating gluten but chalk it up to overeating, allergies, or another factor. When untreated, it can lead to stomach damage, as well as increase the risk for other autoimmune disorders.
Managing Celiac Disease
Luckily, celiac disease can be easily managed once it is diagnosed. By simply avoiding products with gluten, people with celiac disease can avoid an uncomfortable reaction. Since a gluten-free diets means eliminating most types of bread, pasta, cereal, and baked goods, it can be difficult. But for people with celiac disease, giving up pasta is worth it.
While it’s a painful, disruptive disorder, celiac disease can usually be managed. This means that it does not typically qualify someone for Social Security Disability (SSD) benefits. If someone sticks to a gluten-free diet, they should not experience constant symptoms that affect their ability to work. Many people are able to continue with their daily hobbies and work duties.
Qualifying for SSD
However, people with severe complications might be able to apply for SSD under a different disability listing. For example, if they can show that their symptoms are similar to another qualifying disorder, like inflammatory bowel disorder, they might be able to successfully apply. Some conditions that might qualify someone for SSD benefits include:
- Severe cramping and abdominal pain
- Extreme weight loss or a body mass index (BMI) under 17.50
Still, since their condition is managed through a gluten-free diet, it can be difficult for people with celiac disease to qualify for SSD, even in the most severe cases. But thankfully, if properly treated and managed, celiac disease should not cause everyday problems, allowing people to enjoy their hobbies and continue their work—just without gluten!
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