According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children in the United States suffer from diabetes.  With treatment, many of those with this disease are able to live normal lives.   However, not all diabetics are so fortunate.  Some diabetics suffer complications, including loss of vision, decreased mobility, stroke, heart disease, kidney failure and ketoacidosis, that leave them unable to work or function normally.

Diabetes Checkup
Diabetes Checkup

Impaired Vision

Diabetes can lead to severe visual problems, including loss of visual acuity, problems with peripheral vision and blindness, by causing damage to the lens of the eye and the retina, the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye.  Damage to the retina, commonly called retinopathy, occurs because elevated blood sugar injures the small blood vessels that nourish this tissue.  As damage to the vessels accumulates, your vision deteriorates.  High blood sugar can also produce blurred vision by causing the lenses of your eyes to swell.  As your vision worsens, you may have trouble performing everyday tasks including those required for your job.

Loss of Ability to Walk, Stand or Use Your Hands

High blood sugar can limit your mobility by damaging your nerves and blood vessels and making you more likely to develop bacterial and fungal infections.  Diabetic nerve damage, called neuropathy, is often crippling.  It causes pain and numbness in your limbs, circulatory problems and other health issues.  Additionally, neuropathy contributes to the development of painful ulcers.  In addition to producing chronic pain and impairing movement, these ulcers often become infected.  Infection further damages the surrounding tissue and can lead to the loss of the affected limb or limbs.

Episodes of Ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis, a life-threatening complication of diabetes, almost always requires hospitalization.   If you have recurrent episodes of ketoacidosis, you will require a considerable amount of treatment, so you will not be able to work consistently.  Additionally, treatment for ketoacidosis can cause complications including kidney damage, heart problems and neurological issues.  Many of these conditions can also leave you unable to work.

Cardiovascular Disease

Stroke and heart disease are common complications of diabetes.  In fact, the average diabetic is up to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease or suffer a stroke than the average person without diabetes.  If you have cardiovascular disease, it may not be safe for you to work because exertion may increase your risk of suffering a cardiac event.  You may also be too weak to work.  If you suffer a stroke, the resultant damage can cause significant physical and mental disabilities.

Kidney Problems

High blood sugar can overwork and damage your kidneys causing them to fail.  Kidney failure is life threatening and produces debilitating symptoms including weakness, fatigue, nausea, fluid retention and difficulty concentrating.  If you have severe symptoms caused by failing kidneys, require ongoing dialysis or need to prepare for or recover from a kidney transplant, you will be unable to work.

If your diabetes has left you unable to work and support yourself and your family, you should consider consulting both a medical specialist experienced in managing diabetes and a skilled Tacoma disability lawyer.  While you may not think you need legal advice, determining whether or not you qualify for Social Security disability benefits is often a complex process, and a disability lawyer will be able to help you navigate that process

Article wriiten by Derek Montrose