Thursday, 14 November 2013

Men and women: one size doesn't fit all

So which is the sneezier gender? New research from the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology shows that women are more at risk from allergies, asthma and other diseases that affect the body’s immune system.
The researcher, Renata Engler, has also found that the pattern of which gender is most susceptible to allergies changes over time – in childhood, it’s boys who suffer more.
Why is such research important? Because it joins a growing body of evidence that men and women have radical differences when it comes to physiology and health. For example,  it’s only in the past decade that doctors have begun to realise that heart attacks manifest themselves very differently in women than men. Women are less likely to get classic chest pain, and more likely to have indigestion-like symptoms.
It's increasingly clear that lumping everyone together in terms of typical symptoms, likely diagnoses, optimal treatments is not only unhelpful, but also potentially dangerous. In this supposed age of personalised medicine, one size won’t fit all. Which is particularly obvious (if you stop to think about it) when it comes to big hulking men and less than big and hulking women.