The Three Most Common Disabilities
- Author Robin Akins
- Published December 2, 2023
- Word count 1,551
Dealing with chronic pain from physical disabilities can be incredibly frustrating. As a result, millions of people around the world have to contend with on a daily basis due to one of many physical disabilities.
To help you get a better understanding, we are going to take a look at three of the most common physical disabilities in this blog post:
There is only one place to begin, and this is with arthritis. It is estimated that there are 54.4 million adults that have been diagnosed with arthritis, representing 22.7 percent of the population.
Furthermore, it is predicted that an estimated 78.4 million (25.9 percent of the projected adult population) will be diagnosed with arthritis in the future.
What is arthritis?
Arthritis is a common condition that results in inflammation and pain in a joint. It can impact people of all ages, including children.
The symptoms you will experience depend on the type of arthritis you have, and this is something we will discuss more below.
For example, if you experience any of the following symptoms, we recommend seeking an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible:
Joint stiffness, tenderness, and pain
Muscle wasting and weakness
Warm red skin over the impacted joint
Restricted joint movement
Inflammation in and around your joints
Types of arthritis
There are a number of different types of arthritis, with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis being the most common. Let’s take a look at both:
Rheumatoid arthritis tends to impact people between the age of 40 and 50-years-old. Interestingly, of those impacted, women are three times more likely to be impacted by this condition than men.
With this form of arthritis, your immune system will start to target affected joints, causing swelling and pain.
The joint’s synovium, which is the outer covering, is the first area to be impacted.
As a result, inflammation can then spread across your joint, which can cause more swelling and the shape of the joint to change. This can result in the cartilage and bone breaking down.
Due to a compromised immune system, people who have rheumatoid arthritis can experience issues with other organs and tissues in their body.
This condition tends to impact people in their mid-40s or older. It is a more common physical disability in those with a family history rheumatoid arthritis, and the condition impacts females more than males.
Moreover, this disease can occur at any age, as it can be related to another joint condition, such as gout, or brought on as the result of another injury.
Osteoarthritis usually damages the smooth cartilage lining of the joint. This causes stiffness and pain because it makes movement more challenging than normal. After the cartilage lining begins thinning out, the ligaments and tendons need to work harder. This can cause osteophytes, which is the formation of bony spurs, as well as swelling.
Severe cartilage loss can result in bone rubbing on bone, which can alter the shape of the joint and force the bones out of their typical position. This normally is accompanied by extreme pain.
The joints that are most commonly impacted by osteoarthritis include the hips, knees, spine, and hands.
Other types of arthritis and related conditions
These are the main types of arthritis, but there are other kinds, as well as related conditions. For example, other diseases include enteropathic arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, fibromyalgia, cervical spondylosis, ankylosing spondylitis, and more.
At the moment, there is no cure for arthritis. Fortunately, there are treatments that can help to slow down the process and provide greater comfort.
Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis aims to slow down the progress of the condition and minimise inflammation of the joint. This helps to prevent joint damage.
Treatment for osteoarthritis includes surgery, medicines, and lifestyle changes.
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Next, we have cerebral palsy, which currently impacts around 764,000 adults and children within the United States. Approximately 10,000 babies are born with cerebral palsy every year.
What is cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy is the term used to describe a number of lifelong conditions that impact coordination and movement. This physical disability is caused by issues with the brain that develop before, throughout, or soon after birth.
What are the causes of cerebral palsy?
Cerebral palsy can happen when the baby’s brain is not developed as it should be while they are in the womb. It also occurs when the baby’s brain is damaged soon after birth or during birth.
Some of the causes of cerebral palsy are:
A serious head injury
The brain temporarily not getting sufficient oxygen throughout a difficult birth
An infection the mother has during the pregnancy
Reduced oxygen and blood supply to the baby’s brain
Bleeding in the baby’s brain
In a lot of cases, the exact cause of cerebral palsy is not clear.
Cerebral palsy symptoms
Cerebral palsy symptoms are not typically obvious until just after a baby is born. Then parents notice symptoms in their child throughout the second or third year of their life.
Some of the symptoms include the following:
Walking on tiptoes
Uncontrolled and random movements
Clumsy, jerky, or fidgety movements
Weak legs or arms
Seeming too floppy or too stiff
Delays in reaching developmental milestones, such as the ability to walk by 18 months or not sitting by eight months
A range of other issues, including learning disabilities, vision problems, speaking problems, and swallowing difficulties
The severity of these symptoms can differ considerably. Some children are severely disabled while others have only minor issues.
Cerebral palsy treatments
There is no cure for cerebral palsy at the moment. Fortunately, treatments are available to help people with the condition lead an independent and active life.
Some of the treatments use include:
Surgery to treat growth and movement problems
Medicine for muscle stiffness and other challenges
For additional information on cerebral palsy please check out the following link:
For additional information on cerebral palsy please check out the following informative site: https://www.cerebralpalsyguidance.com/cerebral-palsy/
Spinal cord injuries
Another major physical disability is spinal cord injury. Around 17,810 new spinal cord injuries are diagnosed per year in the United States.
Spinal cord injuries are definitely more prevalent in men, with around 78 percent of new spinal cord injuries being accounted for by males.
It is believed that there are around 294,000 people in the United States living with a spinal cord injury.
What is a spinal cord injury?
A spinal cord injury is any sort of injury that involves damage to your spinal cord or the nerves at the end of your spinal cord, which are known as cauda equina. This can often result in permanent changes in terms of sensation, strength, and other body functions below the injury site.
Causes of Spinal Cord Injury
Spinal cord injuries can arise due to damage to the disks, ligaments, or vertebrae of the spinal cord itself or the spinal column.
Common causes of this physical disability include the following:
Diseases, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, and cancer
Recreation and sports activities
Acts of violence
Motor vehicle accidents
A spinal cord injury can happen to anyone, but there are some risk factors. These include joint or bone disorders, engaging in risky behavior, being over the age of 65-years-old, being between the ages of 16 and 30-years-old, and being male.
You reduce your risk of a spinal cord injury by taking appropriate safeguards: Do not drink and drive; avoid risky behavior when playing sports; make efforts to prevent falls; check the depth of water before diving; and drive safely.
Spinal cord injury symptoms
After a spinal cord injury, whether or not you can control your limbs depends on two factors:
The severity of the spinal cord injury
The place of the injury along your spinal cord
Medically, your spinal cord’s lowest point of injury is typically called the neurological level of your injury. Additionally, the injury’s severity is referred to as “the completeness” of the injury, and it is classified in two ways:
Incomplete - You have some sensory or motor function below the impacted area. There are varying degrees of incomplete injuries.
Complete - You have lost all control movement (motor function) and feeling (sensory) below the spinal cord injury.
There are a number of different symptoms that you may encounter as a consequence of a spinal cord injury, including:
Difficulty clearing secretions from your lungs, coughing, and breathing
Intense stinging sensation or pain caused by damage to the nerve fibers in your spinal cord
Changes in fertility, sexual sensitivity, and sexual function
Exaggerated spasms or reflex activities
Loss of bladder control or bowel control
Altered sensation, including the ability to feel touch, cold, and heat
Loss of movement
Final words on common physical disabilities
We have provided you with insights into some of the most common physical disabilities. We hope this information helps you to get a better understanding of arthritis, cerebral palsy, and spinal cord injuries.
These examples are just three of many different types of physical disabilities that people face around the world today. Providing support for those facing a physical disability is imperative, and there are lots of great treatment options and medical products available to make their life more convenient and comfortable.
Robin Akins is the founder of Cogentica, LLC, a disability advocacy and information site founded in 2015. Dr. Akins is a quantitative psychologist with over 40 years of experience in business, government, and education with substantial teaching experience at the college level. He received his doctorate at Temple University in 1992.
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