Millions of Brits may be living with long-term conditions that are invisible to the naked eye, with the elderly disproportionately affected by chronic impairments, new research into injury incidents suggests.
The research into 1,000 adults across the UK revealed that of those who had suffered a serious injury in the past five years, more than three in four (77.1%) serious injuries also carried long-lasting effects that could not be identified by sight alone.
Examples of this include chronic pain, psychological trauma and cognitive impairments.
The elderly are particularly likely to live with chronic invisible conditions, with the likelihood of such invisible injuries being a major concern increasing in age throughout the sample.
While slightly over half of research participants aged 25-34 were affected, long-term invisible conditions affected 85.6% of those over 65 years of age.
The research, carried out by law firm Fletchers Serious Injury, also found that over one in five (21.9%) of those who live with invisible injuries harboured concerns that others were less likely to understand their injury due to the effects not being immediately obvious.
Significantly, the study found that the respondents may not understand the full implications of their own condition, with 19% also believing that invisible impairments such as chronic pain were not as serious as more visible injuries.
Concerningly, one in seven (14%) of those affected by invisible injuries reported that their condition had directly reduced their ability to seek out help or, in certain cases, directly made them avoid seeking out medical treatment (12.3%).
Adrian Denson, chief legal officer at Fletchers Serious Injury, commented: “A catastrophic injury puts a great deal of strain on the people involved; from the victim themselves, to their family. People who experience injuries such as these very often suffer the ongoing repercussions; chronic pain, psychological trauma and the inevitable loss of earnings that arises during recovery time.”