Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Obesity and Arthritis the Culprits of Women’s Disability

We all know that in general, women live longer than men. This would seem like a great thing for women; getting to enjoy their families and lives longer as compared to men. However, despite better longevity over men, Duke University Medical Center presented a report at the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Geriatrics Society that showed older women are more likely to experience disability in their later years.

The report didn’t just show that women were more likely to experience disability, it showed that they were two and half times more likely to live with disability in their later years than men, and that the main causes for this were arthritis and obesity.

The study was conducted by collecting and researching data from over 5,800 elderly women and men that were part of the Duke University Cardiovascular Health Study. The study showed that arthritis and obesity were the main culprits in almost half of all excess disability found in women. The study also showed that women were at a greater risk for bronchitis, vision problems and bone fractures.

Researchers agree that women need to make better choices in their younger years if they are to live into old age without a higher risk for disability. This means keeping their weight down, eating healthy, exercising on a regular basis, and taking better care of themselves throughout life.

Unfortunately, obesity is more prevalent today than it has ever been, with the problem only getting worse with time. Women are now beginning to find themselves with diseases that used to be associated with men, such as heart disease and lung disease, and even small children are now finding themselves facing diabetes at very young ages, due to the obesity pandemic.

Living longer doesn’t seem to be a good thing when the extra years are occupied with doctors, pharmaceuticals, hospitals and the experience of being disabled. Now that it has been shown that women experience two and half times more disability than men, the next question is: how can women become empowered to make better decisions earlier in life and take better care of themselves during their earlier years? If the topic of self-care isn’t addressed for women, researchers believe the problem will only get worse.

Return to the Social Security Disability SSI Benefits Blog

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