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The Importance of Gender Differences on Health Outcomes

By Expert HERWriter
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Colon Cancer related image Photo: Getty Images

One of the reasons I love websites like EmpowHER.com is because they highlight the differences between men and women with respect to health. For many years medical studies were conducted just on men and the results were just applied to women assuming the same outcome. This has been a troubling way of predicting health outcomes for women because the differences in anatomy and physiology for women can be significant. The symptoms and presentation of disease can show up differently for women than men. A perfect example of the importance of studying gender differences is the symptoms for heart attacks. Women tend to have chest discomfort or pain, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, light headedness, sweating, shortness of breath, upper arm or shoulder pain or neck pain. Women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and back pain than men. Understanding these differences for women may save a women’s life.

Diabetes is one of the leading diseases in the United States today. There have been several studies showing that diabetes type II has an associative risk for developing colon cancer. The studies have shown that men who have diabetes and are using insulin have a 33 percent higher likelihood to develop colon cancer than men who don’t have diabetes type II. Women who have type II diabetes do not have a higher associated risk of developing colon cancer. The researchers did not have a direct reason why women show a lower risk. One theory is that women are gaining better control of the blood sugars and controlling their diabetes better than their male counterparts according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The better control of blood sugars seems to prevent a chain reaction of which causes more cancer causing substances in the body. Because women were able to make a decision to manage their blood sugars better they were able to lower their risk of colon cancer. Here is another example of the differences between women and men in reference to health outcomes.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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