Why does medicine treat women like men?

This is the question posed by Dr. Alyson McGregor, Division Director for the first program in Sex and Gender Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Rhode Island, in her recently-published book Sex Matters.

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For Dr. McGregor, the male-centric medical model is so widespread in our health systems and our procedures that we don’t even realize it exists. She offers an informative and prescriptive guide for women to explore the specificities of their bodies and the preventive actions they can take to reduce their risks. Plus, she reminds us that sex must be integrated as a biological variable in research programs. When it comes to cardiovascular disease in our patients, we see evidence on a daily basis that women’s symptoms don’t always correspond with men’s. For example, in men, plaque tends to accumulate in a few places, causing blood vessels to rupture. For women, plaque is more likely build up uniformly around the inside of the vessel, making them more rigid and less flexible over time. Rather than rupturing, the vessels erode. This requires different methods of diagnosis and treatment.




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