Chronic conditions plague more than one-third of women

While eight in 10 women between the ages of 18 and 64 report excellent, very good, or good health, more than one-third report that they live with a chronic health condition that requires ongoing medical attention--which is a good predictor of need for future healthcare services, according to a new women's health chartbook from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The rate, though, changes with age as more than one fourth (29 percent) of women ages 50 to 64 reporting fair or poor health.

Even among younger women, chronic conditions have an impact: At least one in 10 women of reproductive age (18 to 44 years) say they have been diagnosed with arthritis (9 percent), hypertension (11 percent), or high cholesterol (9 percent), and by the time women reach their middle years (45 to 64 years), those rates tripled to 39 percent, 36 percent, and 34 percent respectively.

Most women (83 percent) report that they have at least one healthcare provider that they see on a regular basis. This increases with age--from 77 percent of women ages 18 to 44 to 90 percent of women 45 to 64.

Some groups of women, however, have a less stable relationship with the healthcare system and may lack a usual source for their care, the foundation noted. Only two-thirds of Latinas (67 percent) have a regular provider, which is lower than white women (86 percent) and African American women (84 percent). Uninsured women are particularly thought to be at a disadvantage, with less than half (47 percent) having this link to the healthcare system.

For more information:
- see the Kaiser Family Foundation chartbook