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Struggling to breathe, COPD sufferers may qualify for SSDI benefits

Most people can relate to having a bad cold and experiencing difficulty breathing. Infections or medical conditions that affect the lungs make almost any type of physical activity difficult as side effects like shortness of breath, light headedness and general fatigue are common. Not only do these types of symptoms seriously inhibit an individual's ability to complete any type of physical tasks, but they can also be extremely scary for those who experience them firsthand or those who witness a loved one experiencing them.

For individuals diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the negative effects of their condition is apparent with every breath. The vast majority of COPD cases are attributable to smoking and result in sufferers experiencing debilitating symptoms including wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, fatigue and other respiratory infections.

Some individuals with COPD may have what's commonly referred to as chronic bronchitis which results in a persistent cough that may be dry or productive. Other COPD sufferers are diagnosed with the emphysema form of the disease which is often progressive in nature. While there is no cure for COPD, medications including inhalers, anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids may be used to help control and prevent symptoms from worsening. Additionally, individuals who still smoke are advised to quit.

In addition to medications, COPD symptoms may improve when individuals eat a healthy diet and walk for exercise. Often, individuals who are diagnosed with COPD have difficulty performing everyday tasks that include walking and lifting and may therefore have difficulty completing work-related duties. For these reasons, COPD is included on the Social Security Administration's list of qualifying impairments for Social Security Disability Insurance.

Source: National Institutes of Health, "Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," 2015

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