Monday 18 July 2016

Marla Ahlgrimm Touches on Health Issues by Sex

Marla Ahlgrimm
Sex is ingrained into DNA, much like eye color and height, says pharmacist Marla Ahlgrimm. As such, the same genetic differences that define reproductive roles also make the sexes respond to certain health conditions differently. But, why?

While the answer to that specific question remains open to further investigation, Ahlgrimm offers answers to others in this short discussion.

Q: What major health issues do men and women respond to differently?

Marla Ahlgrimm: There are many, but perhaps one of the most notable is myocardial infarction, or heart attack. Men often display the telltale symptom of chest discomfort while women tend to present with fatigue, shortness of breath, and back pain. Unfortunately for women, these symptoms are also indicative of stress and a number of other conditions, meaning diagnosis is more difficult.

Q: How is addiction affected by gender?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Researchers at the NIH found that both male and female brains reacted to addictive stimuli very quickly, but the response was measured at different locations. This suggests a neurologic dissimilarity between the sexes where addiction is concerned.

Q: Do autoimmune disorders have an equal effect on men and women?

Marla Ahlgrimm: Historically, women are affected by autoimmune diseases more frequently than men. However, men are more susceptible to extreme versions of these diseases. For example, men are more likely to develop a progressive form of multiple sclerosis than women. Although women are diagnosed with MS more often, their symptoms are manageable longer with medical treatment.

Q: How does understanding medical issues in relation to gender impact healthcare provider treatment methods?

Marla Ahlgrimm: As the medical community becomes aware of the unique ways men and women’s bodies react to disease, they are more able to tailor treatment to each sex. This will no doubt lead to more lives saved and less suffering the in the future.


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