Healthcare professionals have often been concerned with the link between homelessness and health problems. Poverty and homelessness lead to inferior living conditions, which make it more difficult to treat common medical issues. Below, you will discover the top seven health issues that homeless people face regularly. These are issues that the health community is in need of answers for because they continue to get worse.
While not all people without housing experience addiction, many do. People with serious drug or alcohol addiction often have housing instability.
The major opioid epidemic across the United States has led many people to experience a lack of self-care and significant health issues due to their addictions. These individuals would benefit from addiction recovery services.
Many homeless people have a diagnosed mental illness with as many as 75 percent of homeless women facing significant mental health issues. Around one out of four homeless people have also attempted suicide and large numbers suffer from depression and anxiety.
Chronic schizophrenia is also a significant issue among the homeless population.
Sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) along with pregnancy are rather common among homeless adolescents. The biggest concern of the younger homeless population relates to the possibility of HIV/AIDs spreading among these individuals.
High-risk sexual practices and injection drug use often lead to STDs. Sexual assault against homeless women is also a serious problem that activists aim to prevent.
Hunger and malnutrition are major issues for those living in poverty and the homeless population. Poor nutrition can also lead to serious health problems like diabetes or cardiovascular issues. Over the short-term, malnutrition leads to weakness and fatigue.
Food banks and soup kitchens attempt to solve the hunger crisis among the poor and the homeless population.
The homeless often end up wearing aging footwear with holes and worn-out socks, which can lead to serious foot problems. Often, they will face calluses and corns since they cannot take good care of their feet. Fungal skin infections and funguses between the toenails can also grow due to the inadequate shoes the homeless often wear.
Dental health issues
Dental care is also rarely simple to get for the homeless population. Without regular dental healthcare services, those facing housing instabilities end up with tooth and gum problems. Furthermore, these individuals often have poor hygiene practices and lack a way to brush and floss their teeth daily.
Homeless people are often at a higher risk of chronic diseases as well, including diabetes and hypertension. Research has also found that homeless individuals are at higher risk of seizures with many people experiencing epilepsy and alcohol-based seizures. Sleep deprivation and extreme stress may have a link to these seizures.
Before you go
The healthcare industry will need to find new ways to address the various medical problems among the homeless population, including dental health, STDs, and mental illness. Doing so may potentially help the poor become productive members of society, as better physical and mental health provide more opportunities for these individuals.