Health problems caused by aging 279
If you had polio earlier in your life, you may start to have severe weakness,
tiredness, pain, and trouble breathing many years after the polio virus has
gone. This means you must be very careful when you exercise. Using your
muscles too much may damage them and make your weakness worse.
Instead, do gentle stretching and movement to help keep your body from
Walking and balance
If you use an artificial leg (prosthesis), you may need to get it adjusted because it
may not fit as well any more, especially if you do not move about or exercise as
much as you used to and your muscles get weaker and softer.
If you are used to walking with no aids, you may need to start using a cane,
crutches, or a wheelchair. Many women wait a long time before deciding to use aids
that will help them. But starting to use a stick or wheelchair early can protect you
from falls and injuries, and help you move about more easily. The better you can get
around, the more you can take part in the life of your community.
Arthritis is a painful swelling and stiffness of the joints. It affects
many people and can make many daily tasks painful or more
difficult. If the arthritis is in the hands, it can cause special
problems for people with some disabilities. For example:
deformity of the
hand from leprosy
• If you are blind and use your hands to ‘see’
or to read things by touch, you may not be
able to do this as well.
• If you are deaf, you may not be able to use
sign language as well.
• If you use a catheter to pass urine, or a bowel program to pass
stool, it may be more difficult for you to do this by yourself.
• If you have leprosy (Hansen’s disease) and your hands are
already affected, arthritis will make using your hands even
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007