An annual report released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) earlier this year stated that 40% of adults with disabilities had “fair and poor” health. In reading this report, I was taken by surprise because the number was so staggering.
I was taken by surprise because the number of disabled adults with 'fair and poor' health was so staggering.
As a disabled person myself, I not only found this statistic to be alarmingly high, but I also found it to be a taboo topic in our community. If disabled persons are dealing with poor health, why aren’t we discussing it more? Nevertheless, even though the report offered an unpleasant picture of disability health, it provided an opportunity for me to explore the subject and research solutions on how to solve and address the health concerns within our community.
Being disabled does not equate to having poor health.
Although many people would think having a disability would condemn you to poor health for the rest of your life, this myth is very false. Being disabled does not equate to having poor health. Having a disability is merely acknowledging a limitation in a certain area of your life - whether that be mobility, hearing, vision, speech, etc. I hope this article can change the perspective of those with disabilities and encourage them to seek a wholesome life and to become actively involved in improving and maximizing their own health!
I reached out to a wellness coach to discuss the wellness problem.
So, with this topic in mind, I immediately went on a search. I asked myself the question, "Who can I talk to about resolving this problem?" I reached out to my friend, Jenny D., who is a wellness coach. Her mission is to help individuals achieve balance in wholeness in every aspect of their lives. In speaking with Jenny, I realized the concept of health, wellness, and disability are not completely separate, but they can work cohesively to create a healthier lifestyle.
Rasheera: How important is it to practice healthy living despite having a health condition or disability?
Jenny D.: When someone has a health condition or disability, I would argue that it is even more crucial to practice healthy living. The doctors we see are not miracle workers, but sometimes we expect them to be. We should understand that our body has the innate ability to heal itself, given the right formula, and medicine just helps the process along and minimizes symptoms. In the event that we are disrespecting our body, we are just working against what the doctors are trying to do to help us. There should be a plan of synergy with what your doctors are doing. Make choices that respect your body so that you can help it along.
Rasheera: Would you recommend a person with a disability see a nutritionist or lifestyle expert?
Jenny D.: Absolutely! We have many clients that have been impacted by disabilities or disease that left them disabled, and their quality of life could improve drastically when they confer with a nutritionist or lifestyle expert. We have seen cases where people have been able to eliminate all pain medication just by changing their nutrition practices. Remember, medicines generally do not cure us, but just reduce the impact of symptoms. It is our body that heals itself and can only do so with the right tools (nutrition, movement, and mindset). When you respect yourself, everything will change for the better!
Your have the power to maximize your own health.
In speaking with Jenny, not only did my mindset change about my own health but I realized that there were practical tools available to disabled persons to get on track in maximizing their health. I understand with certain conditions some of our illnesses and disabilities are completely out of our control. However, as an advocate, I feel it is my duty to encourage others to live a healthier lifestyle outside of their disability. Your disability does not have to control your life. You have the power to maximize your own health and live your life to the fullest!
In closing, I'd like to include these online resources and tools I found informative:
CDC Annual Report: Promoting the Health of People with Disabilities:https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/pdf/AboutDHProgram508.pdf
CDC Physical Activity - Walking Call to Action:https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/walking/call-to-action/pdf/partnerguide.pdf
To learn more about Jenny D. and her work you can visit: http://www.craigandjennyd.com/
Rasheera Dopson is the founder of Beauty with a Twist organization. Our mission is to provide a community that Esteem, Empowers and Educates individuals and their families who are affected by facial differences and disabilities. As the founder, I believe it my purpose to share my experiences in living with a craniofacial condition. I aspire to motivate and encourage persons of the disabled and non-disabled community to use their differences to change the world. You can read more from Rasheera on her blog.