Understanding Health Disability and How Disability Affects Lives of People

What You Should Know:

  • More than a billion people, who constitute nearly 15% of the global population, suffer from some kind of disability.
  • The number of adults having serious difficulties in functioning may be between 110 million and 190 million.
  • The disability rate is jumping up due to a marked rise in the ‘baby boomer’ population and an increase in health conditions in addition to other causes.
  • Individuals with disabilities have poor access to health care and experience unmet needs for health care.

How to Define Disability?

According to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF), disability is defined as an umbrella term encompassing activity limitations, participation limitations, and impairments. Disability refers to the interaction between persons having a health condition such as cerebral palsy, depression or Down Syndrome as well as environmental and personal factors including negative attitudes, limited social supports, public buildings, and inaccessible transportation.

Disability is an extremely diverse term. Some disability-related health conditions result in extensive healthcare requirements, urgencies, and poor health conditions. All disabled people, just like anyone else, are entitled to the same general healthcare needs and therefore, access to normal healthcare services.

Unmet Healthcare Needs

Individuals with a disability usually have greater unmet healthcare needs and seek more healthcare services than individuals without a disability. According to a recent survey covering individuals having mental disorders, 76-85% of individuals in developing counties and 35-50%of individuals in developed countries received no healthcare treatment in the year before the study.

Health prevention and promotion activities usually don’t target disabled people. Women having disabilities undergo less screening for breast, cervical and ovary cancers than women without a disability. Individuals with diabetes and intellectual impairment are unlikely to get their weight checked regularly. Adults and adolescents having a disability are unlikely to receive any sex education.

How is a disabled person’s life affected?

Disabled people are usually susceptible to healthcare service deficiencies. Depending on the setting and group, disabled persons may be more vulnerable to co-morbid conditions, secondary conditions, health-risk behaviors, and a higher premature death rate.

Co-morbid conditions

Such conditions occur in relation to and in addition to a primary disability-associated health condition. For instance, 15% of schizophrenic patients have diabetes whereas it is just 2-3% for the general population.

Secondary Conditions

Such conditions occur in relation to and in addition to a primary health issue. The good part is both can be predicated and so can be prevented. For example, pressure ulcers, pain, osteoporosis, and urinary tract infections.

Age-Related Conditions

For some groups of disabled people, the process of aging starts earlier than usual. For instance, some disabled individuals develop the symptoms of premature aging even in their 40s and 50s.

Health Risk Behaviours

Some studies claim that disabled people tend to follow unhealthy lifestyles such as poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, and heavy drinking.

Higher Premature Death Risk

The premature mortality rate is comparatively higher in people with disabilities. However, depending on the existing health conditions, the mortality rate varies either mildly or significantly. As per a recent study, individuals with intellectual impairment and mental health disorders have a shorter lifespan.

A person with a disability, who is not aware of his or her rights to healthcare service, can talk to a UMUM disability claims attorney to know it in detail.