Inadequate Cardiovascular Disease Prevention in Women with Physical Disabilities

Authors


800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085, or theresa.capriotti@villanova.edu

Abstract

Health promotion and screening tests are important in persons with disability to avert secondary conditions that can lead to suboptimal functioning or premature death. Conversely, the existence of a primary disability can increase a person's susceptibility to secondary conditions. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the major cause of death in the United States, and its prevalence has been underinvestigated in persons with disability. This descriptive study used survey research to compare the risk of CVD in samples of 100 physically disabled women with 50 nondisabled women in the community. Participants, recruited from health fairs, completed questionnaires that explored the participants' knowledge of CVD risk factors, possession of specific CVD risk factors, and experience with CVD preventive screening procedures. Data revealed that compared with women without disability, women with disability were less knowledgeable about CVD risk factors and experienced marked deficiencies in CVD preventive screening. Body weight measurement, baseline electrocardiograms, family history, and smoking queries were performed less often in women with disabilities than in women without disabilities of similar age. Physical inactivity and postmenopausal status were specific CVD risk factors found to be more prevalent in the sample of women with disability. These findings suggest that risk of CVD is underrecognized and underassessed in women with a physical disability.

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