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What Are the Top 10 Disabilities in Colorado?

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13.4% of the U.S. population is living with a disability. In Colorado, an estimated 5.74 million people have a disability. This includes 4.5 million adults who have trouble living independently and 1.2 million disabled children. 

Many disabled adults and children qualify for Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits. Two SSA programs offer disability benefits: the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) programs. 

In 2022, 8.96 million people were receiving SSDI benefits. Here are the ten most common disabilities according to the SSDI Program’s Annual Statistical Report

1. Musculoskeletal and Connective Tissue Disorders

Musculoskeletal disorders affect the connective tissues, muscles, joints, and bones.  These conditions are overwhelmingly the number one cause of disability in Colorado and affect 30.1% of SSDI beneficiaries. 

The most common musculoskeletal disorders include: 

  • Chronic back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Osteoarthritis (OA)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
  • Psoriatic arthritis (PsA)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Ruptured discs
  • Scoliosis
  • Amputation
  • Third- and fourth-degree burns
  • Complex or non-healing fractures

Some of these conditions are primary musculoskeletal conditions. Others, like RA and OA are inflammatory or auto-immune diseases that affect the musculoskeletal system. 

2. Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and Related Mental Disorders

Almost 12% of SSDI beneficiaries have a depressive disorder with symptoms severe enough to prevent them from working. 

The most common of these mental disorders are: 

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder (type I and II)
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia)
  • Cyclothymic disorder

Major depression is one of the leading causes of disability in Colorado and worldwide. 

3. Nervous System and Sense Organ Diseases

The nervous system is a complex network that allows cells and nerves to send and receive messages from the brain and spinal cord

Disability involving the nervous system can include infection or a functional, structural, or degenerative disease. 

Common examples of disabilities involving the nervous system include: 

  • Meningitis
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuralgia
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Spinal cord injuries
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Bell’s palsy
  • Vision loss
  • Hearing loss

Nervous system disorders account for about 10% of disabilities. 

4. Intellectual Disorders

An intellectual disorder is a disability that causes below-average intelligence and life skills. The SSA defines intellectual disorders as manifesting before age 22 and causing significant deficits in social, conceptual, and practical life skills. 

Common intellectual disorders include: 

  • Fragile X syndrome (FXS)
  • Down syndrome
  • Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD)
  • Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)

Intellectual disorders account for 9% of disabilities.

5. Circulatory System Disorders

The circulatory or cardiovascular system removes waste from the blood while delivering hormones, nutrients, and oxygen to the body. It’s comprised of veins and arteries. 

The most common cardiovascular diseases that cause disability include: 

  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Stroke
  • Peripheral artery disease (PAD)
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Coronary artery disease (CAD)
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Arrhythmia or dysrhythmia 
  • Chronic venous insufficiency
  • Myocardial ischemia

These conditions can cause pain, fluid retention, fatigue, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, and other symptoms that affect daily life.   

6. Schizophrenia And Other Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are mental illnesses that cause a disconnect from reality. Someone with a psychotic disorder may suffer from delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking. This makes it difficult to stay in touch with and recognize reality and behave appropriately. 

7. Other Mental Disorders

In addition to depressive and psychotic disorders, a wide range of other mental disorders account for 4.5% of disabilities in the United States. 

According to the SSA, this category includes the following common disorders: 

  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Somatic symptom disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
  • Avoidant personality disorder (AVPD)
  • Intermittent explosive disorder
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge-eating disorder
  • Avoidant/restrictive food disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Autism, intellectual, neurocognitive, and developmental disorders are not included in this category.

8. Injuries

According to the SSA, 3.4% of people became disabled after suffering a serious physical injury. 

Common injuries that can lead to disability include: 

These life-changing injuries often result from car accidents and other traffic accidents, falls, and workplace accidents. 

9. Neoplasms

A neoplasm is a tumor. Most disabling tumors are malignant, which means they are cancerous and grow uncontrollably. 

Examples of neoplasms or cancerous tumors that can be disabling are: 

  • Melanoma, such as melanoma of the eye
  • Mesothelioma
  • Lung cancer
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Multiple myeloma
  • Leukemia
  • Lymphoma
  • Skin cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Sarcoma, cancer originating in the bone or connective tissue

According to the SSA, 3.1% of disability beneficiaries have a neoplasm. 

10. Neurocognitive Disorders

Neurocognitive disorders or dementia cause a significant decline in cognitive function. These degenerative conditions impact mental function, memory, visual processing, motor control, and the ability to perform daily tasks. Neurocognitive disorders make up 3% of disability cases. 

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Seek Justice if You Are Facing a Disability in Colorado 

Many of these common disabilities are caused by genetic or congenital conditions or normal aging. However, serious accidents and repetitive strain injuries from work also account for a large share of permanent disabilities. If you have been left disabled by a workplace injury or accident, you may be entitled to compensation from the at-fault party. 

An experienced Denver personal injury lawyer can help you explore your legal options to preserve your quality of life.

Contact our Denver Personal Injury Law Firm Today For Help

For more information please contact Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation with a Denver personal injury lawyer.

Zaner Harden Personal Injury Lawyers

1610 Wynkoop Street, Suite 120. Denver, CO 80202
(720) 613 9706

Where We Are

We are located across the street from Union Station in downtown Denver and offer validated parking for all our clients. We also have offices in Boulder and Colorado Springs.