March 23, 2013
Men And Women Have Gender-specific Medical Needs
Alan McStravick for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Whether perusing the shelves of your local bookstore, watching commercials during your favorite television program, or just opening your eyes, the evidence that men and women are distinctly different and unique animals is seemingly everywhere. Researchers in the field of epidemiology have understood this truth but couldn't necessarily provide proof of it, until now.
In fact, the male of the species has been the benchmark by which decisions and understandings were formulated with regard to illness, disease symptoms and general medical research for the previous 40 years. However, with the publishing of a new article entitled “Gender medicine: a task for the third millennium”, researchers have presented research on gender-related differences across a whole host of previously uncharted areas in medicine. The research was conducted by Giovannella Baggio of Padua University Hospital.
Baggio´s article, published in the journal Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, presents evidence for considerable differences between the sexes in five domains. These are cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver diseases, osteoporosis and pharmacology.
Due to the recognition of cardiovascular disease being perceived as primarily a male disease, symptoms for women have long been overlooked. For instance, a heart attack in men presents a tightness in the chest accompanied by pain that radiates down the left arm. Conversely, symptoms for women include nausea and abdominal pain in the lower region. When women experience a heart attack, the consequences are considered more dire. However, mentioning these non-specific symptoms often leads to being practically dismissed by a healthcare provider rather than leading to a battery of examinations that could identify the potentially fatal condition.
The team also detailed the differences between men and women with regard to cancer and liver disease. Not only are onsets typically different, but locations within the body and options for treatment should vary between the sexes
Previous research on osteoporosis has recognized the condition typically only affects women. Therefore, treatments for this disease are usually female-centric. However, men are fully capable of developing osteoporosis. Men are unfortunately often overlooked and therefore experience an increased mortality due to bone fractures.
Additionally, Baggio and her team provided evidence showing the variation between men and women in the pharmacology of aspirin and other substances. According to the team, differences in action and side effects are attributable to different body types, varying reaction times in the absorption and elimination of substances, and a fundamentally different hormonal status. The team contends gender must be taken into account when considering the effective and safe administration, dosage, and duration of treatment with certain medications.
The study concludes that additional and more far-reaching clinical investigations of gender differences are needed in order to eliminate fundamental inequalities between men and women in the treatment of disease.