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Are diseases sexist?

Are diseases sexist?

Publish date: 2013-03-22

Sexism accompanied mankind since the very beginning and is one of the most difficult stereotypes to eradicate. Traditional gender-roles as well as widely-shared cultural believes present men as more competent and socially valued than women in numerous activities. Even the medical research has been focused on male patients exclusively. However, according to recent research published in the article there are crucial differences between genders at least in five domains of cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver diseases, osteoporosis, and pharmacology.

Tags: pharma , pharmaceutical , sexism , diseases

Sexism accompanied mankind since the very beginning and is one of the most difficult stereotypes to eradicate. Traditional gender-roles as well as widely-shared cultural beliefs  present men as more competent and socially valued than women in numerous activities. Even the medical research has been focused on male patients exclusively. However, according to recent research published in the article there are crucial differences between genders at least in five domains of cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver diseases, osteoporosis, and pharmacology.

The article “Gender medicine: a task for the third millennium”, which appeared in the journal Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine lists few examples proving this theory. A great example is cardiovascular disease, which causes pain in left arm as sign of heart attack in men manifest itself as nausea and lower abdominal pain in women. The differences in symptoms can be observed also in colon cancer – the second most common form of cancer. Women usually suffer from this illness later than men. Moreover, tumors are located in different parts and respond better to chemical treatments.

Aspirin has different effect on male and female

Interesting were also studies on differences in action and side effects while using aspirin and other pharmacological substances. They proved that variation between males and females are in reaction times in absorption of substances. Therefore, the dosage as well as treatment duration should take into consideration patient’s gender.

Although sexism in diseases does not mean that gender-roles are natural for mankind, it should lay the groundwork for development of gender-target treatments for diseases.

Jacek Plewka

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23515103

http://www.sciencedaily.com

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