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Victims of domestic violence susceptible to chronic diseases

Domestic violence is a serious issue all over the United States, including in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Although domestic abuse comes in different forms, a comprehensive study found that victims of domestic violence are more likely to acquire chronic health problems than people who are not abused.

The study revealed that 44 percent of American women suffer from domestic violence. It also stated that chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, digestive diseases, lung disease and others occur in 88 percent of women who have suffered or suffer from sexual abuse; 81 percent in other forms of domestic violence. Of the abuse victims, almost 91 percent agreed that medical professionals should check their patients for domestic violence; however, sadly, 75 percent were never asked about it. The report found that women aged 21 to 34 are more likely to be asked about domestic violence than women older than 65 years old although they are just as likely to suffer from abuse.

In one of the cases, a 28-year-old woman stated that she believes that abuse and chronic diseases can be somehow correlated. She suffered abuse at the hands of her husband, who became more abusive after she got pregnant. Her husband never allowed her to speak with her doctors alone, in order to prevent her from answering questions about the abuse truthfully. She escaped from her husband after giving birth; however, after a month, he found her and attacked her, causing her such severe facial damage that she is barely recognizable. He subsequently kidnapped her and their baby but, fortunately, police were able to rescue them.

She suffered facial fractures, which resulted in permanent double vision in both eyes. Additionally, she is suffering from chronic pain, anxiety and depression. Her husband was arrested and was sentenced to 76 years in prison.

Help is available to victims of domestic abuse. The domestic violence victim should consider seeking protection.

Source: Examiner, "New study reveals domestic violence victims more prone to chronic illnesses (Photos)," Richard Webster, Oct. 22, 2013

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