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The 3 most common disabilities affecting adults over age 50

Your risk for disabling medical conditions increases as you get older. Adults who are over the age of 50 and drawing close to retirement age are at elevated risk as compared with those just starting out in their careers. Older adults can get hurt at work or in a car crash. They could also develop major symptoms caused by a pre-existing genetic condition.

Disabilities certainly come in all shapes and sizes, and a condition that would keep one person from working at all might be manageable for someone in a different situation. Still, certain kinds of disabling medical conditions are far more common than others in older adults. What are the leading kinds of disabilities that affect people over the age of 50 in the United States?

Respiratory conditions

Respiratory disorders like asthma, emphysema and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are the third-most-common kind of adult disability. A respiratory disorder will hurt your ability to work and diminish your overall quality of life.

Those over the age of 50 may start noticing the damage caused by workplace chemical exposure or decades of smoking when they were younger.

Heart disease

Issues ranging from genetic predisposition and a history of smoking to your diet and job can affect how likely you are to develop heart disease. There are numerous medical conditions that fall under the umbrella of heart disease, including coronary artery disease. Heart disease may make it unsafe for someone to return to their job and can even limit what they do around their own home.

Musculoskeletal disorders

Arthritis and similar musculoskeletal disorders are the leading cause of disability. Musculoskeletal conditions account for more than 54 million of the 61 million disabling medical conditions affecting adults in the United States. These conditions can get worse over time and will affect not just someone’s quality of life by creating pain but also their strength and range of motion in the affected body parts.

People adjusting to a recent diagnosis with a disabling medical condition or worsening symptoms as they age may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. Recognizing that your medical condition may give you cause to file an SSDI benefits claim could help you support yourself if you can no longer work because of your condition.

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