Respiratory problems create a serious secondary condition for women with disabilities causing problems that can result in morbidity and/or mortality. 

One study on secondary conditions among women with functional limitations found 18.8 percent of their sample to identify respiratory problems as a secondary condition.

Respiratory muscle weakness in multiple sclerosis is usually described in the advanced stage of the disease and accounts for majority of fatalities. However, it may also occur earlier during relapse episodes and can also contribute to fatigue and increased sense of effort.

Respiratory complications are frequent in individuals with acute cervical spinal injury, or CSI. Findings from one study suggested that the number of respiratory complications experienced during the initial acute-care hospitalization for CSI is a more important determinant of length of stay and hospital costs than level of injury.

As this population ages, we can anticipate an increasing need for rehabilitation hospitals that specialize in respiratory care.

Home Mechanical Ventilation

Home mechanical ventilation, or HMV, is known to be a successful therapy for chronic respiratory insufficiency, with regard to long-term survival and has demonstrated improvement in quality of life among people with neuromuscular disorders and skeletal deformities (ie, restrictive lung disease) receiving HMV. Participants receiving HMV reported good perceived health, despite their severe physical limitations.