Some health conditions cause short-term disability, which temporarily limit your ability to earn income and live a normal life. Other medical issues can lead to permanent disability, altering your life in ways that make everyday tasks difficult or impossible.
About 19.4% of people in the U.S. have a disability, and approximately 14% of Canadians are living with a disability. Many of these individuals have more than one disability, and they suffer from conditions that cause pain or mobility issues.
These five health conditions can lead to permanent disability.
1. Cardiovascular Disease
Heart conditions are a leading cause of disability, and they can produce debilitating symptoms, such as:
- Chest discomfort caused by emotion or activity which is quickly relieved by rest.
- Shortness of breath on exertion.
- Atypical angina, which is pain or discomfort in areas outside of the chest, such as the jaw, neck, back, left arm or upper abdomen.
- Variant angina, which causes episodes of angina while resting due to spasms of a coronary artery.
Several heart conditions qualify for disability in the U.S., including:
- Chronic heart failure
- Ischemic heart disease
- Heart transplant
- Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD)
- Recurrent arrhythmia
- Symptomatic congenital heart disease
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Aneurysm of the aorta or major branches
Cancer can be debilitating, and many people have difficulty working in the same capacity they did before their diagnosis.
People with cancer often experience:
- Severe pain
It’s not just the disease itself but the treatment that can make it challenging or impossible to work and live a normal life.
Chemotherapy, a common cancer treatment that affects the entire body, can cause:
- Extreme fatigue
- Nausea and vomiting
Radiation therapy may also be used in the treatment of cancer, and it can cause many of the above-listed symptoms as well as skin changes.
Additionally, many patients undergo surgery as part of their treatment, which will require time to rest and recover.
3. Mental Illness
Many mental illnesses can make it very difficult or impossible to function in a typical work setting. Conditions that may qualify for disability include:
- Personality disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Symptoms of these conditions may hinder a person’s ability to function and be productive in the workplace.
4. Respiratory Diseases
Like heart conditions, respiratory diseases can impact a person’s ability to work and lead a normal life. Conditions that may qualify for disability include:
- Lung cancer
- Cystic Fibrosis
5. Parkinson’s Disease
Parkinson’s disease is progressive, and it affects the central nervous system. It’s the result of the death of cells in the midbrain that contain dopamine. The motor symptoms associated with the disease can make it difficult or impossible to work, including:
- Rigidity of the limbs due to excessive muscle contraction.
- Slowness of movement, which affects fine motor skills such as writing and buttoning clothing. Eventually, it affects the person’s ability to walk.
- Postural instability, which makes it more difficult to balance in the later stages of the disease.
- Forward-flexed walking posture.
- Speech difficulties.
- Shuffling gate.
- Loss of some automatic movements, including blinking.
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