Gender Role When Heeding Health Warnings


Filed under Health & Wellness

We’re all familiar with the saying ”A stitch in time saves nine” — in other words, take care of a problem when it first comes up so it won’t become overwhelming later on.

“Whether repairing a leaking faucet, mending a small tear or getting the car in to the mechanic, people understand the importance of recognizing symptoms and taking appropriate action,” says Denise Pozen, creator of the SO TELL ME … personal health organizer. “However, when it comes to medical symptoms, there seems to be a gender gap. Not only can symptoms vary by gender, but the response to those symptoms can also vary.”

For example, the classic symptoms of a heart attack — a crushing feeling on the chest, shortness of breath and pain radiating down the left arm — are now recognized as being more common in men. Women may experience more subtle symptoms such as:

• Mild or severe pressure in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes;

• Nausea, lightheadedness, or a sudden cold sweat;

• Extreme fatigue.

But both men and women may experience discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach and shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort.

While women’s symptoms may sometimes be more subtle than men’s, their “stitch in time” approach to health is not. According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are 100 percent more likely to visit the doctor for annual exams and preventive services than men. And men die at higher rates than women from the top 10 causes of death, possibly because they do not go to the doctor as often as women.

“Men may consider some symptoms to be the normal aches and pains of ‘weekend warrior’ activities or an active lifestyle, but it’s important for men as well as women to consult with their doctor when they feel something is ‘different’ or when they experience certain symptoms,” says Pozen. “By recording noticeable changes in your health, you will be better prepared to discuss symptoms with your doctor. You may even identify a symptom before the medical issue becomes severe.

” Maintaining a personal health record allows you to map out any changes in your health and provide a corresponding timeline to your physician. It can also prepare you to discuss what illnesses are part of your family’s health history. A. personal health organizer makes it easy to organize all your health information, including appointment histories and test results — and note any new symptoms.

Because of the often more strenuous and physical activities men engage in, they may tend to ignore many of the following symptoms and relate them to lifestyle. However both men and women should take very seriously symptoms like unintended weight loss, blood in the stool or urine, persistent abdominal pain, changes in urination habits, swollen extremities and skin lesions that change shape or color.

Be sure to take your health symptoms seriously. Create a personal health record that is specific to you, schedule regular check-ups with your doctor and ask how to recognize the warning signs for your gender.

Article courtesy of ARAcontent

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