Most people and some GPs are not as aware as they should be that female symptoms are different to the male ones ie the classic symptoms we all know. However there has been a lot in the news a few months ago so awareness is improving.
I was only on another thread yesterday about things used by women but not designed by them and said medicine. I mostly focussed on gynaecological aspects as examples but I really am sick of being scoffed at for believing that for a very long time medicine has failed women and it's been acceptable, from medication tested on men and less effective for women to interventions that harm women and advice that works if the default human is man but doesn't address the differences women might have just by being women and not exceptional medical cases. I'm glad that I've really noticed the increased visibility of female specific advice about good heart health and spotting the signs that don't tick the classic boxes.
Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
Also women's pain is ignored and discounted. And the drugs don't work, they just make you worse (or that might be depressing lyrics...).
Research has shown that women are less likely to donate their bodies to medical science (Sanner 2006) so medical science and training starts on men.
There are problems in field trials of medicines as well. "the "thalidomide disaster" did not result from women's participation in research, the experience had a powerful emotional impact that created an aversion to involving pregnant women and women of childbearing age in drug research (Levine, 1993). The DES experience would bolster this aversion. DES is a synthetic hormone that was widely prescribed in the 1940s and 1950s to prevent miscarriage. Enthusiastic physicians overlooked large, controlled clinical trials indicating that DES was ineffective. They focused instead on smaller studies in which the drug appeared to show promise (Levine, 1993). It was not until 20 years later, in the late 1960s and early 1970s, that the side effects of the drug would become evident: the daughters of women who had taken DES during pregnancy began to experience a rare adenocarcinoma of the vagina."
This meant that a "protectionist stance toward including fertile women in drug trials became further entrenched". This meant, for example, acne treatment drug Isotretinoin was not really tested on women because of what it can do to the development of a fetus.
Until more women donate their bodies to science and more women accept the risks of medical testing, men will be the lab rats and when it a medicine works on them, thats what gets to market or treatments are made.
Oh come on scottish are you really trying to pretend that the focus on men's health started with donated bodies rather than the fucking ancient Greeks? There has always been an assumption that men's bodies are 'normal' and women's bodies are 'other'.
I think the article makes the old hints about how women are now smoking, drinking and getting overweight and therefore are getting heart problems. But fewer people than ever smoke now compared to e.g. the 1950s. So I am not sure it makes total sense.
Anyway, it is good to know this and I agree there should be some form of campaign to raise awareness.
MrsTerryPratchett - no but what started with the ancient Greeks continues to this day because women consider their own bodies other and men consider theirs normal. Interestingly the group of women mostly likely to donate their bodies to science are very well educated with one or no children. The stats, and the research by female academics, is not old bollocks. Of course, medical students have seen a lot of old, dead bollocks by the time they complete their studies. Far fewer old, dead vaganias though.
RemainOptimistic because women dont come forward and medical science is still trying to work out ways of making it far safer. Isotretinoin started out as a possible cure for skin cancer. But it is an interesting issue when it comes to drug testing because of the impacts it has on a test subject outside of the lab. Men have no physical problems with isotretinoin for example but women had to commit stringent birth control programmes and pregnancy testing and committing to having an abortion before they even got to being a test subject. It is harder to do all that and it does put women off.
The entire structure around medical science, pharmacology etc is obviously male dominated for a wide range of reasons. Not all of it to do with sexism.