In light of the recent launch of the Stanford Center for Health Research on Women and Sex Differences in Medicine (WSDM), I couldn’t help but take notice of a new paper on the topic. In an article in the journal Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine, Italian researchers have highlighted the “crucial differences between men and women” in five areas: cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver diseases, osteoporosis, and pharmacology.
Arecent journal release provides some examples of the differences:
Typically perceived as a male illness, cardiovascular disease often displays markedly different symptoms among women. 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.
Colon cancer is the second most common form of cancer among men and women. However, women suffer this illness at a later stage in life. Furthermore, colon tumors typically have a different location in women, and they respond better to specific chemical treatments. Gender also has an impact on the patient’s responsiveness to chemotherapy administered to treat cancer, such as colon, lung, or skin cancer. In this way, gender impacts the course of the disease and the patient’s chances for survival.
…While typically viewed as a female disease because of the much higher rate of female patients, osteoporosis also strikes men. The study contends that osteoporosis is too often overlooked in male patients, and it documents a higher mortality rate among men suffering bone fractures.
The authors conclude that “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.”
Previously: Exploring sex differences in the brain