It's not only anatomy, but cell biology that distinguishes women's health needs from men's. Leading providers recognize the value of gender-based medicine and strive to educate and empower patients.
This article first appeared in the October 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
As a population, women have different health and medical needs beyond the ones that present in the bikini zone. For example, women need smaller medical devices for knee replacements because their frames are smaller. Signs of a heart attack are different for women, as well.
The list of gender-specific presentations, diagnoses, and treatments goes on and on, thanks in part to a landmark study from the Institute of Medicine that showed sex differences were not just anatomical but cellular. That research led to a different way of thinking, says Jennifer H. Mieres, MD, FACC, FASNC, FAHSA, senior vice president for the Office of Community and Public Health at North Shore-LIJ Health System, a 17-hospital organization that provides care for 7 million people in an area that includes Long Island, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island in New York.
Mieres says presenting the need for gender-specific medical treatment because of the biology of cells rather than the anatomy of a person helps move a physician from skeptic to believer.
Jacqueline Fellows is a contributing writer at HealthLeaders Media.