5 Things People With Medical Issues Want You To Know

According to a 2014 survey conducted by the CDC, 32.4% of adults in the US over the age of 18 find at least one basic activity or action limited or difficult to do as a result of medical issues. Unfortunately, people with medical issues are a generally underrepresented minority in the US, and as a result may face complications or challenges in society as a result of the lack of representation. To help make it easier, here are five things people with medical issues want you to know*.


*Disclaimer: This article does not speak for everyone with medical issues or disabilities. It is based on my personal experiences and the anonymous experiences of other people I have spoken to or interacted with. Also, the term ‘medical issues’ is used interchangeably with ‘medical condition’ and does not mean any offense.

1.     Our health can play a huge role in our lives

I have to think about my medical issues several times every day. I have to think about it whenever I get something to eat, before a class starts, even if I’m just going out with friends.  They can even affect different parts of our body or different body functions that you wouldn’t expect them to affect: for example, my singular kidney impacts the amount of sleep I get. Not something most people would expect.


2.     It’s not the same for everyone

Even for people who have the same medical issue, it isn’t the same. They have different experiences, different perspectives, and a different mindset on their medical condition. Some people are more comfortable talking about them while others aren’t. Please keep that in mind and try not to generalize us.


3.     It can make certain actions harder for us than it is for other people

There are some things that are harder for us to do or that we do differently because of our medical issues. Like for someone with breathing issues, a walk up the stairs might leave them out of breath or needing to sit down while for others it’s no big deal, so please keep that in mind.

4.     But it’s also not always like Grey’s Anatomy or other medical shows.

Medical dramas can make medical issues seem life or death when in reality they can really be more along the lines of daily annoyances or time consuming tasks. Some people do have conditions that, if not treated properly, can be life threatening but the day-to-day life can also be a bit tamer than one might think. For example, if I don’t take my medicine I could hurt my kidney, but it’s also not like if I accidentally miss a dose I’m going to end up in the ER.


5.     Our medical issues do not define us.

This one might seem a bit obvious but it’s true. Despite everything I’ve said, we are still complex, 3-dimensional people. Our medical issues can have a huge impact on our lives but so can our education, our family, our friends, our passions, and our dreams. It’s just one piece to the puzzle that is us.