Around 20 to 30% of the population have arthritis, with most of the sufferers being older adults. There are various causes of arthritis, including:
- Being overweight or obese
- Joint injuries
- Work injuries
- High impact sports
- Certain disorders
- The presence of other types of arthritis
As you can see, some of the causes of arthritis are avoidable, but others are not.
Sufferers of arthritis typically begin to see the symptoms manifest during middle age. By 70 years old, most people will experience one or more of the following symptoms:
- Joint pain and stiffness
- Friction between joints that produces crackling sounds
- Shortened range of motion
The need for joint repair or joint replacement also hints at the existence of arthritis.
Making Sure that Your Arthritis Qualifies as a Disability
Unfortunately, simply having arthritis does not automatically make you eligible for benefits. It must meet a set of requirements published by the Social Security Administration.
These requirements include the persistent inflammation or deformity of at least one load-bearing peripheral joint that prevents the person from moving that joint or the persistent inflammation or deformity of at least one major peripheral joint of an upper extremity that prevents the performance of fine motions.
Alternatively, arthritis can qualify for disability if it includes the inflammation or deformity of any major peripheral joints, as long as it involves two or more body systems or organs that are affected to at least a moderate level of severity. However, it must also be accompanied by one of the following issues:
- At least two constitutional symptoms (malaise, fever, involuntary weight loss, severe fatigue).
- Ankylosing spondylitis or other spondyloarthropathies.
- Repeated inflammatory arthritis with a minimum of two constitutional symptoms (malaise, fever, involuntary weight loss, severe fatigue).
Because repeated manifestations of inflammatory arthritis are difficult to quantify medically, it must also be accompanied by limitations or an inability to complete tasks within a reasonable time, maintain social functions, or carry out daily living activities.