Long Term Health Conditions and Disabilities

Millions of people live with one or more long-term health conditions/disabilities that effect their physical and/or mental health. Depending on where a person is at on their journey with their health they may or may not have considered if they have a disability and also may think that it needs to be a diagnosed condition.

There are many different perceptions of what disability is however:

The Equality Act 2010 sets out when someone is considered to be disabled and protected from discrimination. The definition is quite wide – so check it even if you don’t think you’re disabled. For example, you might be covered if you have a learning difficulty, dyslexia or autism.

The definition is set out in section 6 of the Equality Act 2010. It says you’re disabled if:

  • you have a physical or mental impairment
  • that impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities

What ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ mean

  • ‘substantial’ is more than minor or trivial, eg it takes much longer than it usually would to complete a daily task
  • ‘long-term’ means 12 months or more, eg a breathing condition that develops as a result of a lung infection

What counts as disability is a really useful page from Citizens Advice.

Check if you have an impairment

You have an ‘impairment’ if your physical or mental abilities are reduced in some way compared to most people. It could be the result of a medical condition – like arthritis in your hands that means you can’t grip or carry things as well as other people.

An impairment doesn’t have to be a diagnosed medical condition. If you’re suffering from stress, you might have mental impairments – like difficulty concentrating – as well as physical impairments such as extreme tiredness and difficulty sleeping. It still has to have a substantial and long-term adverse effect on your ability to carry out day-to-day activities.

Your impairment doesn’t have to stop you doing anything, as long as it makes it harder. It might cause you pain, make things take much longer than they should or mean that you’re unable to do an activity more than once.


Our list* below has been compiled by our staff and participant community to give examples of long term disabling health conditions that can have a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.

*please note this list is not a full list of conditions and we’re keen to hear from people who would like to add further conditions to this list so we can raise further awareness of long term health conditions and disabilities. Please contact admin@thestarfishcollaborative.co.uk if you have a condition you wish to add to this list.


  • Diabetes.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
  • Heart conditions
  • Stroke
  • Asthma
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Vascular (circulatory) disease.
  • Arthritis.
  • Coeliac disease
  • Cancer
  • Dyspraxia
  • Chronic pain
  • Fybromyalgia
  • Crohns
  • Hearing impairment
  • Sickle cell disease
  • Dementia
  • ADHD
  • Depression
  • Menopause
  • Visual impairment
  • Sleep Apnoea
  • Additional learning support needs (learning disability)
  • Additional physical support needs (physical disability)
  • Epilepsy
  • Bi-polar
  • Migraine
  • Autism
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Mobility issues
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Bladder and bowel conditions
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Undiagnosed health condition