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How Health Conditions Affect Women Differently Than Men

As the medical world continues to advance at impressive rates, the drastic difference between women’s health and men’s health and the implications this has on the care necessary for treating both sexes continues to be an underrepresented issue. Although both men and women can be affected by the same illnesses, the effects of the condition, in some cases, can be more severe for women than men which may affect their treatment.  

Women also are often at greater risk of developing certain conditions than men, such as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most prevalent type of arthritis. This disease has caused the most physical disabilities for millions of Americans in the US however, this condition seems to impact women more than males. The condition results in edema, stiffness, and joint pain: research suggests that “women are more likely to experience joint pain, aching, and stiffness caused by osteoarthritis. For example, evidence suggests that: Women aged 50 to 60 years may be 3.5 times (350%) more likely to develop hand osteoarthritis than men in the same age group.”

In many cases, symptoms of certain illnesses are intensified in the female population. Alcohol abuse, for instance, affects women more severely than men despite the fact that males are more likely to succumb to addiction. In women, the adverse effects of alcohol abuse can elevate the risk of breast cancer, heart disease, and fetal alcohol syndrome which may cause brain damage and induce learning disabilities in children born to mothers who suffered from alcoholism during their pregnancy. 

In addition to the increased risks to their health from alcohol abuse, the number one cause of death for women in the US is heart disease, and although heart disease is the number one cause of death for men in the US as well, “women are more likely than men to have a heart attack with no severe blockage in an artery (nonobstructive coronary artery disease).” The difference in symptoms between men and women makes it difficult for women to recognize symptoms of heart disease; men are more likely to have obvious chest pains indicating a heart issue, however this is not the case for women. Women are also more likely to postpone treatment to lower their cholesterol levels and they are also more likely to encounter delays in emergency care than men.

Women may also experience more severe STD/STI effects than men. Women with STDs or STIs may become infertile if they are not treated quickly and correctly. They are also more likely than males to have STDs/STIs without knowing that they have this condition because their symptoms are less evident and are often mistaken for yeast infection;  There are many conditions that can cause vaginal pain and “while the symptoms are similar, the causes and treatments are very different.” 

Although these diseases affect both men and women, the effects of these conditions can impact the health of women much differently than they impact the health of men. This distinction is important to note because treatments and care options are also influenced by the way women are affected by these conditions. Incorrect diagnoses of these conditions due to a variation in obvious symptoms can be fatal for a woman.

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Tags: #wellness #heart health #women's health


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