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.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

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

These countries are best at attracting and nurturing talented workers

Falsified medicines: new rules to enhance patients’ safety

Climate change hits the poor hardest. Mozambique’s cyclones prove it

MWC 2016 LIVE: 5G to embrace unlicensed bands and Wi-Fi

One-sixth of the world’s economy has now pledged to cut CO2 to zero by 2050

‘A trusted voice’ for social justice: Guterres celebrates 100 years of the International Labour Organization

5 steps that could end the plastic pollution crisis – and save our ocean

Satellites and data are going to help us phase out fossil fuels. Here’s how

The new ethical dilemmas in medicine of the 21st century

Digital development: technology-enabled, but human-centric

GSMA announces new keynote speakers for 2018 Mobile World Congress

A third of young people polled by UN, report being a victim of online bullying

Youth2030: UN chief launches bold new strategy for young people ‘to lead’

Medical students, climate change and health: an unorthodox combination

3 megatrends for the factories of the future

Canada leading the way on women’s inclusion and empowerment, says OECD

Be a part of the World Forum on Future Trends in Defence and Security

This is how rice is hurting the planet

Libya: Heavy shelling and civilian deaths ‘blatant violation’ of international law – UN envoy

Does the West reserve the fate of Libya and Syria for others? How does this relate to the EU’s Neighborhood Policy?

EU-Turkey relations: EU considers imposing sanctions while Turkey keeps violating Cyprus’ sovereignty

Reform of road use charges to spur cleaner transport and ensure fairness

Tax revenues continue increasing as the tax mix shifts further towards corporate and consumption taxes

World Cancer Day: Early cervical cancer diagnosis could save lives of over 300,000 women

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Marginalized groups hit hardest by inequality and stigma in cities

“Be aware where you put your I Agree signature on and something else”; now Facebook by default opts you in an unseen private data bazar

GSMA Mobile 360 – Latin America at Mexico City: Intelligently Connecting to a Better Future, in association with The European Sting

Celebrate love, strengthen partnerships to end AIDS epidemic by 2030 says UN agency

A quarter of Americans have no retirement savings

CLIMATE CHANGE FOCUS: The fruits of sustainability and decent work

UN experts urge India to align new anti-trafficking bill with human rights law

UN health agency spotlights stalled effort to close health divide across Europe, in new report

Tobacco-free Public Space in Africa’s Most Populous Country

EU joint response to disasters: deal reached with Council

How Japan can take the lead with an ageing workforce

These patients are sharing their data to improve healthcare standards

Banks must take bold action to fight climate change. This is how they can do it

Is it true that the G20 wants to arrest tax evasion of multinationals?

Yesterday’s “jokes” and sarcasm by Digital Single Market’s Vice President Ansip on EU member states’ right to protect their telco markets

North Macedonia President, credits dialogue and diplomacy for setting a decades-long ‘name dispute’

DR Congo Ebola outbreak now a Public Health Emergency, UN health agency declares

European Union: Retail sales show deep recession

MEPs cap prices of calls within EU and approve emergency alert system

Why the financial scandals multiply?

Bring killers of journalists to justice: UN agency seeks media partners for new campaign

Siemens-Alstom merger: Can Germany and France lobby to circumvent EC’s rejection, against EU consumers’ interests?

Trump: Hostile to Europe, voids Tillerson’s “ironclad” ally pledge

This billion-dollar campaign wants to protect 30% of the planet by 2030

YOUTH WILL BE A KEY FOCUS IN THE NEXT EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Work Together to Build a New Type of International Relations and a Community with a Shared Future for Humanity

IMF’s Lagarde: Estimating Cyber Risk for the Financial Sector

Is the West gradually losing Africa?

‘Cataclysmic events’ in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, began ‘global push’ against nuclear weapons says Guterres, honouring victims

More solidarity and interaction between generations needed to challenge age stereotypes and ingrained ageism

A new generation of women leaders is making waves in the Arab world

INTERVIEW: Advancing human rights, a ‘never ending process’ says new UN rights chief

Why a cash-free future might not be as close as you think

‘Health is a right, not a privilege’ says WHO chief on World Health Day

Interview with ourselves: the mental health of health professionals

More Stings?

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