Gender Bias In Health Care May Be Harming Women's Health

woman checkup at doctor

There’s a new report that suggests gender bias in the health care sector might be harming the health of women all across the country. As a matter of fact, the push for change is being called the #MeToo movement in the health case industry.

According to The Today Show, there’s more and more research that shows there’s a bias against women, especially when it comes to how medicines are researched and tested and the approach that some doctors take while diagnosing and treating diseases. Dr. Noel Bairey Merz, director of the Barbara Streisand Women's Heart Center at Smidt Heart Institute, Cedars-Sinai says that for instance, heart disease is treated differently in women than in men. Even though it’s the number one killer for females, women do not get the same amount of treatment or routine care as men do.

Back in 2017, a study by American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health found that only 39 percent of women who have a cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR, versus 45 percent of men.

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“Young women were more likely to be told to lose weight, where the young men who were actually more overweight were more likely to be put on effective preventive therapy,” Dr. Bairey Merz said. “People are always sort of judging women according to their weight."

woman at doctor waiting room
Credit: iStock / Wavebreakmedia

If that weren’t enough, women are also more likely to suffer from chronic pain than men and that’s mostly because doctors are very quick to dismiss their concerns. Instead of getting the care that they need, research has shown that doctors are likely to believe that women either stress out more than men, or should just be prescribed antidepressants and anxiety medicine. Either some doctors don’t take the time to listen to their female patients and their concerns, or don’t take them as seriously as they would a male patient. As a result, many health issues, both short and long term, go undetected despite the everyday signs and symptoms.

Another reason why women perhaps don’t get the same kind of treatment that men do is simply because male doctors have more reservations about asking a woman to remove her clothing in order to do a full examination. Then again, research has also shown that men are less aware of health problems than women. They are also less attuned to symptoms and they don’t visit the doctor as often as their female partners do.

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