Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is a broad term that describes diseases of the heart and blood vessels. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of deaths worldwide. Diseases such as coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure (CHF), disease of the heart valves, peripheral artery disease (PAD), congenital heart diseases, cardiomyopathy, aortic aneurysm, ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), endocarditis, and myocarditis fall in to this category.

General Information
Cardiovascular impairment results from at least one of four consequences of heart disease. These consequences include: chronic heart failure or ventricular dysfunction; discomfort or pain due to myocardial ischemia (lack of oxygen to the heart muscle); syncope or near syncope due to inadequate cerebral perfusion (brain oxygenation); and reduced oxygen concentration in the arterial blood.
There are a number of risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, the most important of which is age. Data suggests that the risk of developing cardiovascular disease triples every 10 years of life. Additional risk factors include diabetes, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, family history, and obesity. Individuals with high blood pressure or high cholesterol are also at an increased risk of developing additional cardiovascular impairment.

Symptoms commonly associated with cardiovascular diseases include angina (chest pain); pain in the neck or jaw; numbness, weakness, coldness, or pain in legs or arms, and shortness of breath. Individuals can also exhibit little to no symptoms.

Myocardial infarction (MI), more commonly known as a heart attack, is an example of a complication resulting from underlying cardiovascular disease, generally coronary artery disease (CAD).

Social Security Medical Listing 4.00 – Cardiovascular System
Potentially disabling disorders of the cardiovascular system under the requirements of the Social Security Administration include chronic heart failure, ischemic heart disease, recurrent arrhythmias, symptomatic congenital heart disease, heart transplant, aneurysm of the aorta or major branches, chronic venous insufficiency, and peripheral arterial disease.

A longitudinal clinical record is important to assess the severity and expected duration of your impairment. Most individuals with a cardiovascular impairment severe enough to prevent the performance of full-time work will have received medically prescribed treatment. The clinical record should include descriptions of the ongoing management provided by your treating source, as well as your response to this treatment. It will provide information on your functional status over time and whether your ability to function is improving, worsening, or unchanging.

The policy for assessing cardiovascular disease under listing 4.00 indicates that the Social Security Administration will wait to evaluate these impairments if there is evidence that your condition is not yet stable and the expected change in the impairment may affect their decision. If you have had recent acute events, such as heart attack, cardiac catheterization, or coronary artery bypass, the Social Security Administration may choose to wait 3 months before continuing to develop and assess your case.

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