Labeling Diseases By Gender Is Literally Hurting Everyone


According to an article in the journal Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CLLM), the majority of medical research on unisex diseases done over the last 40 years focused solely on male patients. However, in plumbing the field of what they’ve termed “gender medicine,” a study out of Padua Hospital University finds that there are five major areas in which disease differs by gender: cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver diseases, osteoporosis, and pharmacology.

While a constricted chest and pain that radiates through the left arm are standard signs of heart attack in men, in women the usual symptoms are nausea and lower abdominal pain. Although heart attacks in women are more severe and complicated, when complaining of these non-specific symptoms women often do not receive the necessary examination procedures, such as an ECG , enzyme diagnostic tests or coronary angiography.

It certainly doesn’t help that there are plenty of sex-biased doctors who assume that a woman who presents with these “non-specific symptoms” is a hysteric or a hypochondriac. Coooool.

Additionally, the study reports that gender has an impact on the patient’s response to chemotherapy, colon tumors are located in a different area in women than men, and women suffer from the disease later in life. It’s not just women who are at a disadvantage for the arbitrary assignment of diseases along gendered lines. Because osteoporosis is largely considered a “female” disease since it strikes a high number of women, male sufferers are often overlooked, and those who incur bone fractures have a higher mortality rate.

[ via The Atlantic Wire]

Image via Andrii Muzyka/Shutterstock

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