For some time now we have been hearing more about ‘tailor-made’ and ‘personalized’ medicine according to the characteristics of the patient.

Gender medicine is the last frontier of this medical science so ‘taylor made’ that it can revolutionize the approach to care in the next ten years, depending on whether the patient is a man, a woman or a child.

The physiological differences between men and women, in fact, are intertwined with those of age and lifestyle to determine and choose effective and appropriate therapies, so much so that even the symptoms of diseases and disorders can occur differently in both sexes.

Dr. Patrizia Presbitero, Senior Consultant of the Humanitas Clinical and Interventional Cardiology Unit, spoke about this topic in an interview, identifying some clinical areas in which the differences between men and women are more evident.


Women and men: a different heart

One of the areas in which men and women differ most is that of cardiovascular disease. From the 1970s to 2000, for example, mortality from heart attacks and strokes decreased significantly in men, who have been very responsive to numerous prevention campaigns, while seven out of ten women are convinced that heart attacks do not affect them, although after the age of 50 cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the “fair sex”.

The symptoms of heart attack in women are also atypical and are also more susceptible to serious complications such as malignant arrhythmias, ruptures and coronary artery dissections.

“When she has a heart attack, the woman often does not have the same symptoms as the man – explained the professor: often the woman does not have the typical heart pain. Instead, there can be atypical symptoms such as paleness, weakness and asthenia, which is why the heart attack is recognized and treated late compared to the male one. The age of onset is also higher than in men, because up to menopause there is the protective effect of estrogen.


Osteoporosis: not just a female problem

Osteoporosis is not only a female problem, as often believed: it also affects men, but it appears late and in a more subtle way. “As for women, the mortality rate after a fractured femur increases with age and is higher in the twelve months after the event – explained the specialist. In the first six months, the risk of death in men is about double that of women of the same age: men are more likely to report serious or fatal consequences.


Gender and sport: women most at risk of injury

Men and women have a different susceptibility to sports injuries as well. For example, anterior cruciate ligament injury is much more frequent in athletes, just as young sportswomen are more prone to distorting traumas due to a higher laxity of the ligaments, which at certain times is more noticeable due to hormonal fluctuations. The female body, in short, requires different forms of training and risk prevention compared to male athletes.