Blood Disorders

Blood disorders, also called hematological disorders, are conditions that affect the creation and life cycle of various cells found in your blood. There are three major types of blood cells in human blood: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Each type plays an important role in your health.

General Information
The core of most human bones contains red bone marrow. Within the red bone marrow are hematopoietic stem cells. These stem cells are capable of producing all blood cells in the human body. Defects in the production of these cells or within the marrow itself can cause blood disorders.

Red blood cells are the most common blood cell. In fact, of total cells in the body, red blood cells makeup approximately 25%. These cells are responsible for carrying oxygen through the body. Their red appearance is due to the presence of hemoglobin, which contains iron. It is the hemoglobin that binds to oxygen molecules . Common disorders of the red blood cells are anemias and sickle-cell disease. Anemias are characterized by reduced ability of red blood cells to transport oxygen. This can cause weakness, fatigue, and dyspnea on exertion.

White blood cells make up 1% of blood volume in most healthy adults. White blood cells are part of the immune system and are responsible for protecting the body from infectious disease. White cells can be further subdivided into five types based on their function. Disorders of the white blood cells can be divided into three distinct subdivisions, based on whether there are excessive amounts of white blood cells (proliferative), too few white blood cells (leukopenias), or whether there are problems with their function rather than quantity (qualitative disorders). Examples of conditions affecting the white blood cells include myelofibrosis, chronic granulocytopenia, and lymphomas.

Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are cells in your blood charged with the task of stopping bleeds. In healthy adults approximately one platelet exists for every ten to twenty red blood cells. Platelets work very closely with proteins in the blood called coagulation factors and other related substances to stop active bleeding. Although platelets are created in bone marrow, coagulation factors are made in the liver. Therefore individuals with advanced liver disease often have coagulation disorders. Individuals with disorders involving platelets or coagulation factors can experience problems with uncontrollable bleeding and even spontaneous hemorrhage. Examples of conditions affecting platelets and coagulation factors include thrombocytopenia, hemophilia, and Von Willebrand disease.

Social Security Medical Listing 7.00 – Hematological Disorders
Many potentially disabling hematological disorders are assessed under Section 7.00 of the Social Security Administration’s Listing of Impairments. For medical listings describing lymphomas and Leukemia, you will want to see sections 13.05 and 13.06, however. Laboratory testing is often necessary to compare your condition with the severity specified within the listings. Additionally, a longitudinal medical record documenting blood cell counts, dates of hemorrhages and or transfusions will aid adjudicators in assessing the severity of your condition. You also may be found disabled without meeting a specific listing if your hematological disorder interferes substantially with your ability to initiate and sustain daily activities.

Your representative can help you determine whether your hematological disorder is severe enough for you to qualify for disability benefits under the Social Security Administration.