| As many as one in five women in the United States are living with disabilities. "Disability" is a broad term that encompasses a sizable range of conditions and diseases. It refers generally to a limitation in physical or mental function caused by one or more health conditions. Depending on the definition used, 19.9 to 28.6 million U.S. women have disabilities - and the number is growing.
Women are more frequently affected by many of the conditions that cause disability, and well over half of all women older than 65 are living with a disability. The most common are associated with chronic conditions such as back disorders, arthritis, heart disease, respiratory problems, and high blood pressure. Disabilities may also result from injuries or birth defects.
Women who experience disability from a large and important group of people who can benefit from public health efforts, according to JoAnn Thierry of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's disability and health team. In addition to the same health concerns as nondisabled women, women with disabilities have conditions that make them more vulnerable to a range of secondary conditions such as pain, fatigue, osteoporosis, obesity, and depression.
CDC's disability and health team has targeted women with disabilities as a major area of emphasis and works to promote their health and well-being through research, partnerships, and education. CDC funds projects around the United States to improve surveillance and promotes research that focuses on women with disabilities as a special subpopulation