When women are included in medical research it leads to better health outcomes and healthier women.
If you are a woman, getting quality health care has its opportunities. The inception and development of modern medicine didn’t include women in clinical trials, thus completely evading the biological differences in men and women and how they respond to different treatments. How a man responds to a pharmaceutical or anesthesia was studied and physicians were able to dial and control these variables, while women were left to cope with the side effects. Read more about the history from the National Institute of Health.
As we approached the 1970s, few women were working in science and medicine and many believed that women’s health care needs weren’t important to the medical and scientific field of study. It wasn’t until the mid-1980s where after much outcry, women were finally being included in health care policies. While there is still much opportunity to include women in medical research, the research gap between men and women weighs heavily in women’s lives.
At Chicagoland Complete Healthcare, we offer women’s health initiatives that include annual “Well Woman” visits, family planning and contraception consultations, immunizations, STD/STI testing and treatment, and endometrial biopsies. Your health and wellness is a priority to us! Follow along and learn more about the questions you should be asking your physician in today’s post.
Where Medical Research is Failing Women
In a report from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, it highlighted the exclusion of women in medical research and its direct impact on women’s health.
- The report found that only 31 percent of cardiovascular clinical trials include women, even when cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death in US women. Furthermore, the symptoms for a heart attack are completely different in women than in men, which leads to an abundance of misdiagnoses and outcomes.
- Women metabolize drugs much differently than men as a result of hormone changes throughout their lives such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, yet fewer than 45 percent of the animals studied are female.
- American women are twice as much at risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease — two-thirds of those suffering are women. There was a previous assumption that women were affected more because they typically live longer than men, and it was only recently that it is being studied that they are more likely due to hormonal changes and how the gene expression differs in the sexes.
- Lung cancer, which kills more non-smoking, young females each year (more than ovarian, uterine, and breast cancers combined) is a result of hormone changes, estrogen in particular, and when more women were included in lung cancer research and trials, it was found that some of the treatments actually work better for women as compared to men. As more and more women are volunteering for these trials, they are still less likely to be compared to men, especially for women of color.
The truth of the matter is, some research doctors still do not recognize the biological differences of men and women and even unthinkable to consider that they are genetically different.
There is so much to be said on this topic! Stay tuned for part two as we explore further into the misgivings of medical research and women, and learn about the right questions to ask for better care.