Gender-specific medicine – The small difference and its consequences

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Gender-specific medicine – The small difference and its consequences

That men and women differ fundamentally, is actually well-known. In medicine, gender be treated specific diseases: Brustkebs and pregnancy a gynecologist, diseases of the prostate by a urologist. In the meantime, has set itself but the realization that women are actually in many diseases ill in a different way than men and that just in medicine, new treatment approaches are needed.

A call for differentiated treatment methods

Even if the term “established position” in the world of work, it’s okay, he found a long time no input in the medicine. Only on the 4. World conference on women in Beijing in 1995 was characterized by the term “Gender Mainstreaming” a new political alignment of the promotion of women. Since then, women are no longer regarded as a homogeneous group, but in their social, ethnic, and age Differences happen.

In medicine, the call for differentiated treatment methods came up with to AIDS research in the United States. Women between the ages of 20 and 40 years of age complained twice as often as men about side effects of treatment. On closer examination, it turned out that the drugs had been tested in men and women played in the drug trials.

The reasons for this were as easy to understand as ultimately false: women of childbearing age in a drug study may have a high long-term risk to health if, during the study pregnant. In the early Phase of a drug development can often be made without knowledge of whether the active ingredient for an Embryo is harmful. The experience, for example, with the thalidomide scandal have led to women from care and from fear of claims for compensation largely from drug trials.

Women are often treated incorrectly

How problematic this attitude is reflected in the treatment of high blood pressure. In many studies, proving the efficacy of drugs with few or no women were included. But women process the compounds differently than men: they are usually smaller and lighter, and on the other there is evidence of gender-specific differences in the metabolism of the active ingredients.

Targeted studies of the studies demonstrated that men benefit from of hypertension treatment, the mortality rate among women increases. It is only since in the drug tests, increasingly older women are used, you can go with secured therapy recommendations in hypertension treatment.

In consequence, these results meant that women were treated until then. Only very few leaflets, for example, contain dosage instructions based on body weight or special advice for women that go beyond the information taking during pregnancy. The higher the body fat percentage of women, for example, makes for an easier absorption of fat-soluble drugs.

Sensitivity grows

However, in recent years has increased the sensitivity for this issue. Both drug regulatory authorities worldwide, as well as the pharmaceutical manufacturer to take this challenge very seriously.

The drug research is not the only area in which “Gender Mainstreaming”, so to speak, the “woman of impact assessment”, is practiced. In Germany, since the end of the nineties, increased efforts to make gender considerations in all areas of medicine. The conference of Ministers of Health in 2001, noted that the lack of attention to gender-relevant needs of the Over -, Under – and inappropriate care in the health sector.

About the well-being of the Individual, this approach also has a overall health political relevance. The Federal government published in 2001, the first “women’s health report”, which demonstrated innovative approaches in practice and research, but also a lot of prejudices, gaps and deficits.

Not just for men

One of the best examples of the necessary distinction between the disorders in both men and women, the heart attack is, as already described. Gender differences here, for example, even when the symptoms are noticeable: While men complain about the “typical” symptoms, such as shortness of breath, chest pain and numbness in the left Arm, a heart attack in women often with Nausea, feeling of pressure in upper abdomen, or back pain. Accordingly, it is often more time goes by in the diagnosis of myocardial infarction in women than in men, because the symptoms are clear, and the possibility of a heart attack not being considered.

It is also interesting that women describe their symptoms, often more holistically, while men show clear physical symptoms. Conversely, men learn far too little support in the case of mental disorders such as depression, for instance, because you have more physical evidence will be searched for. From the “Gender Mainstreaming” in medicine with a bio-psycho-social approach to both genders benefit.

Cautiously optimistic

Doctors, like politicians, have recognized the gender-specific approach to medicine as an opportunity. In times of scarce resources the Stakeholders in the Gender Mainstreaming see a way to improve the German health care system. The Bundestag has now decided to take into account all the development projects in the health sector to gender-related aspects. At universities, Lectures on Gender Mainstreaming now, in the medicine feeder and also in the medical Profession a lot going on.

The chamber of Physicians Westfalen-Lippe configured as a first chamber, a Committee, “Gender Mainstreaming”. Of physicians Federal government continues to argue strongly for more women in higher education and research. Because if more women doing research for women, are also taken into account the concerns of the patients.

For the patients, but it will still take a while until new dosage provide recommendations or, in principle, other approaches to treatment. Until then, you will need the theme by your own interest, to inform themselves comprehensively and to ensure that equal opportunities in medicine for the Sel bstverständ the rule of law.