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Maturitas. 2011 Jan;68(1):65-72. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2010.10.004. Epub 2010 Nov 13.

Aging with a disability: a systematic review of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis among women aging with a physical disability.

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Drexel University School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Philadelphia, PA 19102, USA.


Compared to men, women live longer but experience greater morbidity as they age. However, little is known about the rapidly growing population of women aging with disability. Women aging with disabilities may encounter barriers that increase risk of morbidity, including lack of access to medical care or inadequate assistance, equipment, or services. To evaluate risks of morbidity in this group, we conducted a systematic review focused on two important and prevalent conditions: cardiovascular disease (CVD) and osteoporosis. MEDLINE was searched for reports published between January 1, 1990 and August 6, 2010 and additional studies were identified through searches of bibliographies. 9156 abstracts and 93 articles were reviewed to identify empirical studies of women with physical disability who were 45 years or older and that reported CVD or osteoporosis as an outcome and not a cause of the disability. Articles meeting inclusion criteria were then critically appraised to exclude poor quality studies. In seven articles that evaluated CVD outcomes, we found limited evidence to support an increased risk of prevalence of CVD or risk factors for CVD in women aging with physical disabilities compared to non-disabled control populations. The literature is limited by small sample sizes that reduced statistical power to detect true differences. No articles meeting inclusion criteria were identified to evaluate osteoporosis risk in this group. This review is limited by the narrow focus on physical disabilities and two health outcomes. Additional high quality empirical research is necessary to understand the risks to health of women aging with disabilities.

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