Both men and women can develop different health conditions, but interestingly, you can find a list of conditions that affect women differently than men. Some health conditions are more likely to affect women than men, and this could happen due to many reasons. For instance, both men and women can develop breast cancer, but almost 12% of women in the US are at risk for it and only 1% of men develop it. The effects of certain conditions and the care required to deal with it may also be different significantly for women.
Why Some Conditions Affect Women More than Men?
Some health conditions are common in women because of many different reasons. This could happen due to hormonal fluctuations that are more common in women. Women sex hormones – progesterone and estrogen – can fluctuate due to stress, diet, and other factors, and this increases the risk of autoimmune diseases and other chronic problems.
General anatomy of women is also different than men, which is another reason why some conditions are more common in women. For instance, women are more likely to develop urinary tract infections because of the smaller size of the urethra.
Most Common Conditions Affecting Women Differently Than Men
Some medical conditions can have much more serious effects in women as compared to men. Here is more about some of those medical conditions.
1. Alcohol Abuse
Both men and women abuse alcohol, but the health effects are more serious in women. Statistics show that more than 5.3 million women in the US abuse alcohol. It is true that men are more likely to become dependent on alcohol, but it can lead to devastating complications in women, as it increases their risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and fetal alcohol syndrome.
2. Heart Disease
Heart disease can affect both men and women, but men are at an increased risk at an earlier age. Women, however, are more likely to develop heart disease in the later stages of their lives. Women develop it later because of the protective effect of estrogen. Moreover, heart attack symptoms can be much less specific in women, and usually include nausea, shortness of breath, back, neck, or jaw pain, and fatigue. Interestingly, the risk factors are basically the same for both men and women, but women usually have a higher mortality from heart disease. Statistics also show that postmenopausal women are at a greater risk of experiencing a sudden change in the shape of the heart muscle, which is usually the result of severe emotional stress.
Stroke is also one of those conditions that affect women differently than men. Statistics show that men are at a greater risk of having strokes until age 75, but the condition is more common in women between 75 and 85 years of age. Moreover, women who survive a cerebrovascular accident are at an increased risk of having recurrent strokes. Some risk factors for stroke are unique to women, such as being pregnant, taking contraceptives, having frequent migraine headaches, using hormone replacement therapy (HRT), and having a thick waist.
4. Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
Statistics show that women are at an increased risk of developing UTIs. In fact, urinary incontinence is two times more common in women as compared to men. This difference is mainly due to the structure of the female urinary tract. Women are more likely to develop uterine fibroids, pelvic floor disorders, and other related conditions. Doing Kegel exercises, consuming enough water, and urinating after intercourse may help lower the risk.
5. Stress and Mental Disorders
Many surveys have found that more and more women are now becoming affected by stress and developing different mental disorders. Many women have confirmed that their stress has increased in the past 5 years or so. Interestingly, stress affects women differently and lowers their chances of becoming pregnant. Similarly, more and more women are now diagnosed with depression each year.
6. Autoimmune Disorders
More than 50 million people in the US are suffering from different autoimmune diseases, and more than 75% of them are women, which shows that autoimmune disorders are among those conditions that affect women differently than men. Women are at an increased risk of developing disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and biliary cirrhosis. Lupus is also a women's disease, and it is usually much more severe in women as compared to men.
7. Skin Cancer
Studies have found that one in five people in the U.S is at an increased risk for skin cancer. However, this is one condition that is much more common in men, which is mainly due to their increased sun exposure. Women are also more vigilant when it comes to protecting their skin. Moreover, both men and women may develop skin cancer in different locations. Men usually get it on their ears and heads, whereas women are more likely to get it on their legs.
More than 54 million people in the US are suffering from osteoporosis. This bone-weakening disease affects women more severely as compared to men. Women are more likely to get it later in their lives, which is mainly because of the protective effect of estrogen. However, this female hormone depletes with age, making women more vulnerable to bone-weakening diseases, such as osteoporosis. This weakening effect is the reason why women are more likely to have bone fractures as compared to men.