What health problems affect women in a special way?

Although it is often not noticed, men and women do not get sick the same, nor do they have the same symptoms or react in the same way to treatments. A fact that for centuries was not taken into account by medicine, whose prism was eminently masculine, as well as that of society as a whole. A circumstance that is reflected, for example, in clinical trials, where the female presence has historically been deficient, something that according to various experts harms women to this day in the health care they receive. Not surprisingly, it is pointed out that if their specificities were more present in this area, the diagnoses and treatments they obtain could be improved.

In addition to the health problems that exclusively concern them – menstruation disorders, gynecological tumors, pathologies related to pregnancy … – other data stand out in this regard, often unknown, such as that the majority of those over 50 years of age with blood pressure high blood pressure are women, that endocrine myopathies (muscular diseases) affect 20% of the female population over 40 years old, that 38% of those over 50 years suffer from disorders of the parathyroid glands due to vitamin D deficiency, which due to their biology they are more sensitive to chemical and environmental contamination, which regulate cholesterol better with a pravastatin drug than atorvastatin or that for those under 65 years of age the best predictor of cardiovascular risk is LDL cholesterol (the so-called bad cholesterol), but from that age it is HDL ( the good one), as well as that paracetamol or diazepam act differently in the members of each sex.

In relation to this, another of the conditions that women suffer mainly and that in many cases is invisible is the mental load. Thus, the work of planning, organization and decision-making in the home is assumed above all by them. An unrecognized job that can significantly increase stress and anxiety and is the basis of many conflicts in a relationship. Syndromes such as the ‘bad mother’, for which they feel that they do not arrive and that they do not do things well enough with their children Due to an overload of functions in other important vital areas, they come into play here, something that also responds to the roles that society imposes on them, a circumstance about which, although awareness has changed in recent years, there is still a long way to go. travel.

Main conditions

“Cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, urinary infections, depression, breast cancer and cervical cancer are the most frequent diseases in women. According to the WHO, non-communicable diseases continue to be the main cause of death in them, especially cardiovascular ones, which are those that cause the highest number of deaths. Regarding cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and lung carcinoma are the ones that cause the most deaths “, explains Leandro Catalán, president of the Union of Primary Care Physicians of Aragón (Fasamet ).

Biological factors, due to genetic, hormonal and physiological differences; and the socio-cultural, due to differences in social position, living conditions, behaviors, access and control of resources, “can negatively influence women’s health”, Catalán points out, who also emphasizes how “deficient” the sample of women continues to be in the clinical trials carried out, on which there is “more and more evidence that it harms the health care they receive”.

For a long time, clinical studies on pathologies were done almost exclusively with male samples. “Possibly, one of the causes was due to the assumption that the differences between health between one gender and another were due to their reproductive organs. At the beginning of the nineties, the scientific community was already aware that between men and women there are differences that they can explain why various pathologies manifest themselves differently in each sex and why the body can react differently. Some differences that can be attributed to social aspectsSince there are different jobs and tasks, and also exposure to different risk factors for diseases, “says the doctor.

With regard to cardiovascular diseases, often under-treated, one of the fundamental aspects is the delay in diagnosis. “The symptoms are sometimes different because, for example, there is the absence of chest pain, a greater presence of interscapular pain or pain in the neck and even that it only manifests as respiratory distress. Something to which is added that, in them , the symptoms in less urgent situations are frequently misinterpreted, being related to situations of anxiety or stress, “says the doctor.

Therefore, it underlines the need to conduct more research and training in cardiovascular disease in women, to which the fact of exercising multiple simultaneous functions negatively affects their health, frequently suffering osteoarticular problems, depression, somatization or gender violence, which lead to an increase in their morbidity in the face of many types of diseases and general discomforts.

Regarding the measures to be promoted to improve the health care they receive, Catalan is committed to “reinforcing training and updating on health and women’s issues, design and disseminate aid tools for healthcare activity and carry out research activities “.

Higher pressure

The aforementioned differences also occur on a psychological level. “It is reflected in what has to do with the roles, which make the woman be assigned one that entails an overload at the mental level, because she feels that she has to take care of the house, the children and herself, and that you have to have everything covered. It is what society imposes for them, which makes them feel more pressure to do a greater number of things. That is where syndromes such as the ‘bad mother’ appear, for which they feel they would have to do more, something that is not required of men, “explains psychologist María Peralta.

Among the disorders that are more prevalent in women, the expert highlights depression, together with postpartum depression, hormonal disorders such as polycystic ovary or premenstrual dysphoric and bipolar disorders. “From the time of puberty to menopause, and also taking into account the social pressure to which we are subjected, we are more prone to all of this. Apart from these there is also post-traumatic stress disorder, because we are more prone to suffer violence, and anxiety disorders. On the other hand, there are also eating disorders, more typical in women, and body dysmorphic disorders, which are due to the image of women that promote environments such as social networks and that to syndromes such as Snapchat dysmorphia, in which the woman undergoes touch-ups or cosmetic operations to be the closest thing to a filter in this ‘app’, “says the professional.

As actions to combat this mental burden, Peralta proposes to start by “changing the way in which society sees the role of women so that they do not feel that the pressure to do everything makes them look like a bad mother, which leads to I can’t get out of the loop. “ “It would be positive to educate more in values ​​and to have more resources, such as greater psychological attention, consultancies where they can call to unburden themselves and make consultations or places to do group therapies with women who go through the same thing and feel better and more sheltered, “concludes the psychologist.

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