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6 of the most common reasons for a long-term disability

Unfortunately, a lot of people never think about disabilities until they strike. You probably spent years hoping it wouldn't happen to you, and it never did.

Now that's all changed. Are you ready? Do you know how to proceed? This can turn into a tough process when dealing with insurance companies and medical professionals, and you have to prepare.

To begin, just consider the reasons a disability can strike. Many of them are more common than you know. Some may be surprising. Disabilities take many forms, and six of the most common reasons are:

1. Arthritis

Musculoskeletal issues, including arthritis, lead to about 33 percent of all disabilities. Arthritis isn't just minor pain and discomfort. It can make movement all but impossible. Even those who aren't fully disabled often claim that it impacts their ability to work as expected.

2. Back pain

Back pain can remain an issue for life after a serious injury. It can make many jobs involving physical labor simply too painful to carry out. It some cases, there is one traumatic event leading to a significant injury. In others, back pain builds up for years as people carry out repetitive tasks.

3. Cancer

Cancer takes many forms. Some lead to disability on their own. They cause pain, discomfort and deformity. However, even with cancers that may not cause the disability directly, the aggressive treatments can make it impossible to work. Treatment options include radiation therapy, surgery and chemotherapy.

4. Depression

Professionals are learning more and more about mental health, chemical imbalances and related issues. Even when everything is physically fine, these ailments can impede someone's ability to work. Clinical depression is far more disabling than many without the disorder realize. Other mental health issues include bipolar disorder and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

5. Diabetes

Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to a string of health issues and necessary medications. While people often associate diabetes with obesity, it's important to note that Type 1 can't be prevented and has nothing to do with obesity, but with insulin production. Type 2 is sometimes connected to obesity, though, and that can lead to related issues like joint pain.

6. Heart disease

Heart disease includes heart attacks, coronary heart disease, congenital heart disease, and congestive heart failure. Nothing takes more lives in the United States, not even cancer. Those suffering from it may have to deal with it for years, however, or even decades, so it can lead to disability long before it turns fatal.

By no means is this an exhaustive list of the reasons for disability among Americans. However, it does help to show how common it is and why even those with insurance must know their legal rights.

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