What Are The Leading Causes Of Disability

The term disability means different things to different people, the Oxford dictionary terms disability as “a physical or mental condition that means you cannot use a part of your body completely or easily, or that you cannot learn easily. A physical/mental disability, people with severe learning disabilities”. The odds of becoming disabled before retirement age are around 1 in 3 and some of the causes of disability may not fit in with what you would normally consider, with the most recognisable being:

  • Arthritis
  • Back pain
  • Heart disease
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer

Common Condition such as:

Arthritis/Musculoskeletal Conditions: Account for the most common cause of long-term disability, making up
as much as a third of all disability cases. With arthritis the single biggest condition of that group, with 1 in 3 people saying that arthritis affects their ability to carry out their jobs normally. Other muscle and joint conditions including back backs, bad hips and impaired movement from bones that were previously broken are also common causes of disability.

Heart disease & Stroke: People may live for many years with heart disease whether detected or not, the cost to general health and well-being is enormous and can severely limit the ability to work. Over 10,000 people in Ireland die from heart disease every year and 10,000 people suffer a stroke with 2,000 irish people dying from that stroke every year*.

Cancer: Cancer itself is physically disabling, and coupled with the treatments such as surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, a diagnosis of cancer is extremely disabling. According to the National Cancer Registry of Ireland one in three people in Ireland will develop cancer during their lifetime. On average 30,000 new cases of cancer are diagnosed each year with numbers expected to rise to over 40,000 per year by 2020.

Mental Health: Many perceive disability as a physical ailment, however mental health issues can make work impossible for many people. Depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorders can prove as disabling as any physical illness. Mental health conditions are the most common reason for people to apply for Social Security benefits.

Diabetes: As a cause of disability, diabetes is gaining momentum. Often coupled with obesity, diabetes and it’s link to a number of serious health conditions such as heart disease and optical nerve damage, make diabetes a leading disability for the array of health issues that stem from the diabetes diagnosis itself.

Lowering your risk of disability and related financial issues

The first and most vital step is to improve your lifestyle, we recommend the following common sense steps to help protect your health:

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Consume a healthy diet and maintain an optimal weight.
  • Loss weight if overweight.
  • Reduce your stress levels.
  • Ensure you get enough sleep.
  • Stop smoking
  • Lower your alcohol intake if above the recommended average.
  • Invest in health insurance (if affordable).

If you are currently living with a disability, changing your lifestyle habits can still prove beneficial, if you haven’t take an honest assessment of your risks and focus on lowering that risk. Remember your ability to work and the income that you make pays for everything, from your mortgage, to college to your retirement. All of us to the best of our ability should do everything within our capabilities to protect one of our greatest assets, the ability to work and the investment in the long term health of ourselves and our families.

22nd Mar 2018

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