Monday, July 10, 2006

Men and women differ in symptoms

…Viva la difference and all that jazz. Researchers are finding life-and-death differences in how men and women present with various dangerous conditions.

…Writing in the Arizona Republic (July 4, 2006), Connie Midey tackles not only the different heart attack symptoms women can get (fatigue, jaw pain, or upset stomach rather than crushing chest pain), but vital differences in other disorders.

…Heart disease, of course, kills way more women than breast cancer, and women are more likely to have a second heart attack within a year of the first. Women’s cholesterol tends to be higher, but they are less likely to be offered statins for it.

…Lung cancer among women is up 150% in the last 20 years. Cig smoke is more harmful to women than men, though the docs aren’t sure why. After the same number of ”pack years,” women are twice as likely to develop lung cancer. Yet, men are more likely to die of lung cancer than women. Go know.

…Sexually transmitted diseases hit women twice as often as men. But in as many as 90% of cases of some STDs, women have no symptoms. Women with AIDS are more likely to waste, or lose weight.

…Men can transmit the bacteria that causes vaginitis but have no symptoms themselves. About a quarter of men with chlamydia also have no idea they have it. HIV is more likely to be transmitted from men to women than the reverse.

…Having one STD makes you more likely to get another, including HIV. Sexually active people of both genders need to be checked periodically.

…Depression and anxiety problems are three times more common in women than men. Women have lower levels of serotonin, and other hormones are washing through them. Men, though, have more and more danger of depression as they get older.

…In men, depression can show up as anger, sexual dysfunction, and substance abuse. Women may feel tired, helpless, and unable to make decisions.

…Women are also prone to drug interactions. And men may need different doses or even different classes of medication due to their brain chemistry.

…Brain chemistry, so that’s what the kids are calling it these days.

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