Newswise — Women and men are different. Unfortunately, doctors, medical researchers, and health care providers have not always recognized how these differences can affect health and consequently women have sometimes received inappropriate medical care.
Now, in their new book "The Savvy Woman Patient: How and Why Sex Differences Affect Your Health," the Society for Women's Health Research (SWHR) has assembled a team of medical experts to tell women what they need to know about their health " and how it differs from men's " from young adulthood to menopause and beyond. The SWHR and "The Savvy Woman Patient" highlight numerous health differences between men and women, including the following 10 key difference: 1. Heart disease. Heart disease kills 500,000 American women each year""50,000 more women than men""and strikes women, on average, 10 years later than men. Women are more likely than men to have a second heart attack within a year of the first one.2. Depression. Women are two to three times more likely than men to suffer from depression. In part, that's because women's brains make less of the neurotransmitter serotonin.3. Osteoporosis. Eighty percent of those diagnosed with osteoporosis, or loss of bone mass, are women.4. Smoking. Cigarette smoking is more harmful to women than men. Women also have a harder time quitting smoking and have more severe nicotine withdrawal symptoms.5. STDs. Women are twice as likely as men to contract a sexually transmitted disease, and more likely to experience significant drops in body weight if they have AIDS, which can lead to wasting syndrome.6. Anesthesia. Women tend to wake up from anesthesia more quickly than men, an average of seven minutes for women and 11 minutes for men.7. Drug reactions. Even common medications like antihistamines and antibiotics can cause different reactions and side effects in women and men.8. Autoimmune disease. Three out of four people suffering from autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and lupus are women.9. Alcohol. Women produce less of the gastric enzyme that breaks down ethanol in the stomach. So after consuming the same amount of alcohol as men, women have higher blood alcohol levels, even allowing for size differences.10. Pain. Morphine-like pain medications known as kappa-opiates are far more effective in relieving pain in women than in men.
Based on the SWHR's 15 years as a research advocacy organization, "The Savvy Woman Patient" covers sex-based biology, family histories, women's special nutrition, exercise, other preventive measures, and the aging process. The book's "A to Z" health section describes a variety of diseases and conditions that affect women differently than men and offers prevention strategies, diagnosis, and treatments for them. Contents include autoimmunity; bone and muscle health; cancer; cardiovascular disease; sexual health; kidney, bladder, and urinary tract health; mental health and mental illness; pain; pulmonary diseases; sexual dissatisfactions and health; sleep disorders; and stroke.
"We are continually learning more about how sex differences can impact your health," said Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, editor of the book and president of the Society for Women's Health Research, a Washington, D.C. based advocacy organization. "We felt it was vital for our organization to offer women of all ages the latest information available about diseases that may affect their health differently than they affect men."
About the editors: Phyllis Greenberger, MSW, is the first president and CEO of the Society for Women's Health Research. The Medical Herald selected Greenberger as one of the twenty most influential women in medicine today. She has been quoted in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, The Wall Street Journal, and US News and World Report and frequently testifies before Congress advocating for additional research and funding for women's health.
Jennifer Wider, M.D., received her medical degree from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1999. During medical school, she interned at a CBS local news affiliate and "20/20," and after graduation she was a senior editor at "Medscape/CBS HealthWatch." She has been a guest on CBS News, National Public Radio and various cable channels. She currently reports on health and medical issues for the Society for Women's Health Research.