Health-Related Disabilities

Health-related disabilities are conditions affecting one or more of the body's systems. These include the respiratory, immunological, neurological, and circulatory systems. There are many kinds of health-related impairments, varying significantly in their effects and symptoms. Keep in mind that health-related conditions are often unstable, sometimes necessitating additional absences or assignment extensions due to flares of their condition, frequent doctors' appointments, and hospitalizations. Below are brief descriptions of some of the more common types of these conditions.

Common Types and Descriptions of Health-Related Disabilities


A malignant growth that can affect any part of the body. Treatment can be time-consuming, painful, and sometimes result in permanent disability.

Chemical dependency

Considered a disabling condition when it is documented that a person has received treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction and is not currently using. Chemical dependency can cause permanent cognitive impairments and carries with it a great deal of stigma.

Diabetes mellitus

Causes a person to lose the ability to regulate blood sugar. People with diabetes often need to follow a strict diet and may require insulin injections. During a diabetic reaction, a person may experience confusion, sudden personality changes, or loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, diabetes can also cause vision loss, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, stroke, or necessitate the amputation of limbs.

Epilepsy and other seizure disorders

Cause a person to experience a loss of consciousness. Episodes, or seizures, vary from short absence (formerly known as petit mal) seizures to the less common tonic-clonic (formerly known as grand mal) seizures. Seizures are frequently controlled by medications and are most often not emergency situations.

Epstein Barr virus or chronic fatigue syndrome

An autoimmune disorder that causes extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, and depression. Physical or emotional stress may adversely affect a person with this condition.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV+)

Causes AIDS, and inhibits one's ability to ward off illnesses and infections. Symptoms vary greatly. People with HIV or AIDS are often stigmatized.

Lyme disease

A multi-health-related condition that can cause paralysis, fatigue, fever, dermatitis, sleeping problems, memory dysfunction, cognitive difficulties, and depression.

Lupus erythematosus

Can cause inflammatory lesions, neurological problems, extreme fatigue, persistent flu-like symptoms, impaired cognitive ability, connective tissue dysfunction, and mobility impairments. Lupus most often affects young women.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

A progressive neurological condition with a variety of symptoms, such as loss of strength, numbness, vision impairments, tremors, and depression. The intensity of MS symptoms can vary. A person can be extremely fatigued one day and very strong the next day. Extreme temperatures can also adversely affect a person with MS.

Renal disease or failure

Can result in loss of bladder control, extreme fatigue, pain, and toxic reactions that can cause cognitive difficulties. Some people with renal disease are on dialysis and have to adhere to a rigid schedule.