Gender Science: A sneaky healthcare risk factor

Gender.jpeg

(Tim Mossholder, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Mr. Jonathan Salim, SCORE project coordinator (PC) in CIMSA-ISMKI Indonesia. He is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


Gender is currently the hot global issue. A person born as a boy may identify himself as a girl and vice versa. Nowadays, there are many states and countries that accept LGBT as a community, marriage, and way of life. Numerous studies have observed an increased risk of thromboembolism, pituitary prolactinoma, heart disease, and other lethal diseases in LGBT community1. Conversely, does the same discrepancy and/or health risk applies to cisgender people who content with their own sex orientation?

From decades ago, gender have discrepancies in voting, healthcare, and community roles. Women are expected to have minimal education and contribute in housework, while men are the family head who roam freely. These segregations stem from the war era where muscly bodies man proved to be superior in battles.

The segregation of rights calmed down after the passing of 1993 NIH Revitalization Act where women and other minorities have the right to participate in clinical trials2. In turn, facts about gender differences in diseases has been uncovered, proving woman having different diseases risk, symptoms, and prognosis.

For instance, women have higher risk for diabetes (OR: 1.65; CI95: 1.43 – 1.91) and obesity (OR: 3.10; CI95: 2.43 – 3.94)3. Clinical differences also observed between coronary heart disease (CHD) in man and woman. The frequency of silent CHD, a CHD with no sign and symptoms, appears more frequent in woman. Sharp-burning chest pain and angina are likely to develop while women resting while men only at exercising4.

Woman also has a specific upbringing that contributes to diseases. Female who have experienced pre-eclampsia, eclampsia, gestational diabetes, and/or other obstetric abnormalities has higher chance to develop cardiovascular diseases.

Theories are out there trying to explain the discrepancies between diseases and gender, one of which is the hormonal immune modulation theory. They describes that female hormones impact the signal and division rate of the innate and adaptive immune system. Researcher has found that after binding with the receptor, estrogen will modulate the immune system by altering macrophage function through controlling NO and iNOS level. The other known immune cells that are modulated by estrogen includes: neutrophil, dendritic cell, T-cell, and B cell5.

Incidentally, gender also impact the nutritional status of a country. Most women are educated on how to prepare and cook food based on the nutritious value, however they usually lack the required ingredients as most men are the one who tasked in the production and purchase of ingredients6. The mistranslation and misapplication of information caused unbalanced nutrition leading to anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and other diseases.

The impact of gender also proven within the mental health through occupation. Studies in Korea has shown a relationship between the 2x higher incidence of mental illness in women toward income7-9. Women have a tendency to be in the lower position, thus having lesser income10. Those conditions are the perfect grounds for depression and anxiety to grow.

Henceforth, the importance to view healthcare toward each specific gender is crystal clear. A transformation in the healthcare system is urgently needed.

References

  1. Lee R. Health care problems of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender patients. Western Journal of Medicine 2000;172:403–8. doi:10.1136/ewjm.172.6.403.
  2. NIH Policy and Guidelines on The Inclusion of Women and Minorities as Subjects in Clinical Research. National Institutes of Health.
  3. Sobers-Grannum N, Murphy MM, Nielsen A, Guell C, Samuels TA, Bishop L, et al. Female Gender Is a Social Determinant of Diabetes in the Caribbean: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Plos One 2015;10. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0126799.
  4. Heart Disease in Women. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
  5. Khan D, Ansar Ahmed S. The immune system is a natural target for estrogen action: Opposing effects of estrogen in two prototypical autoimmune diseases. Front Immunol 2016; 6:1–8.
  6. Vlassoff C. Gender Differences in Determinants and Consequences of Health and Illness. Journal of Health, Population, and Nutrition 2007;25:47–61. PMID: 17615903.
  7. Fryers T, Melzer D, Jenkins R. Social Inequalities and the Distribution of the Common Mental Disorders. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 2003;38:229–37. doi:10.4324/9780203496206.
  8. Muntaner C, Borrell C, Benach J, Pasarín MI, Fernandez E. The associations of social class and social stratification with patterns of general and mental health in a Spanish population. International Journal of Epidemiology 2003;32:950–8. doi:10.1093/ije/dyg170.
  9. Muntaner C, Eaton WW, Miech R. Socioeconomic Position and Major Mental Disorders. Epidemiologic Reviews 2004;26:53–62. doi:10.1093/epirev/mxh001.
  10. Kim I-H, Muntaner C, Khang Y-H, Paek D, Cho S-I. The relationship between nonstandard working and mental health in a representative sample of the South Korean population. Social Science & Medicine 2006;63:566–74. doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2006.02.004.

About the author

Jonathan Salim currently holds the positon of SCORE project coordinator (PC) in CIMSA-ISMKI Indonesia. During his time, he did research and clinical exchanges to the ophthalmology department of Semmelweis University, Hungary. Simultaneously, he is currently working a medical clerkship in Siloam Hospitals by Lippo Group.

 

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Fleeing Venezuela: MEPs to probe humanitarian conditions in Colombia and Brazil

Is a uniform CO2 emission linked car taxation possible in the EU?

Italy can stand the US rating agencies’ meaningless degrading

Bank resolutions to remain a politically influenced affair

Boris to end up in jail if he loses the next elections?

IMF’s Lagarde: Ukraine must fight corruption

Your computer can help scientists find a cure for COVID-19. Here’s how

Protectionism doesn’t stand a chance in the age of connectivity

Commission considers anti-dumping duty on Chinese solar glass imports

Future of Insurance Claims in Focus at Fourth Annual Connected Claims Europe Summit

The Peoples are missing from EU’s monetary union

MEPs back plans to halt spread of drug resistance from animals to humans

10 start-ups that are helping to change the Arab world

Corruption thwarts attempts to build a better world and ‘must be fought by all, for all’

US now has most coronavirus cases in the world – Today’s coronavirus updates

Continuing incarceration of women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia, ‘reprehensible’: UN experts

The benefits of a cashless society

ECB intervenes to clean May’s and Schäuble’s mess

Education in Emergencies: EU announces record humanitarian funding for 2019 and launches #RaiseYourPencil Campaign

You might soon be travelling without a passport – this is how

Commission: Raising the social issues that can make or break the monetary union

COVID-19: Commission presents guidelines for border measures to protect health and keep goods and essential services available

Visa liberalisation: Commission reports on fulfilment of visa-free requirements by Western Balkans and Eastern Partnership countries

Winter 2019 Economic Forecast: growth moderates amid global uncertainties

EU-US: A new transatlantic agenda for global change

UN chief ‘deeply alarmed’ over military offensive in south-west Syria

Terrorism ‘spreading and destabilizing’ entire regions, Guterres warns States, at key Kenya conference

6 ways least developed countries can participate in the 4IR

IMF: European banks do not perform their duty to real economy

A Sting Exclusive: Towards better business opportunities for the EU and its neighbours, Commissioner Hahn live from European Business Summit 2015

The Great Reset needs great leaders to help the most vulnerable

Review on ethics and technological development

Spread of polio still an international public health concern

Iraq: Solutions needed ‘urgently’ to quell ongoing violence, break political deadlock

Here are five ways we can make mental healthcare better

This is how good governance can make sure technology works for everyone

EU and Mercosur reach agreement on trade

AIESEC @ European Business Summit 2015: The power of an individual and how we can awaken Europe’s Youth

With 5 billion set to miss out on health care, UN holds landmark summit to boost coverage

What washing your hands can teach you about global change

At Ministerial session, UN regional office in Beirut to focus on technology for sustainable development

Radio still a powerful worldwide tool for ‘dialogue, tolerance and peace’: Guterres

Why helping cross-border commuters is key to fighting COVID-19

An ECB banker wants to change the European social model

Bosses perform better when they are appreciated by their staff, according to a new study

ECB guarantees the liquidity of the Atlantic financial volume

High-tech or ‘high-touch’: UK survey gives clues to the jobs of the future

Young people worldwide can ‘determine the future of migration,’ says UN senior official

Nigeria floods: Guterres ‘deeply saddened’ by loss of life and rising need

China-EU Special Report: Chinese Premier Li Keqiang endorses China’s big investment on Juncker’s plan at 10th China-EU Business Summit

This is how many women have been nominated for best director in the Oscars’ entire history

Burundi: Inclusive dialogue ‘only viable option’ for resolving country’s political crisis says, UN envoy

What we know about the Wuhan coronavirus and urgent plans to develop a vaccine

Kids who live in the countryside have better motor skills, a study in Finland has found

How cities, not states, can solve the world’s biggest problems

US and China in painstaking efforts to conclude trade talks

This Dutch floating village could help tackle city-density and sea-level challenges

Brexit: MEPs concerned about citizens’ rights

UN chief calls for ‘enlightened self-interest’ from world leaders to save ‘the whole planet’ from climate change

Computer skills are crucial for children – in lockdown and in life

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s