Do women and men have the same diagnosis?

Published on 28/09/2018

Doctor and a woman

Women and their missed diagnosis

Delayed and missed diagnosis are more common in women with disorders like autoimmune diseases as lupus, thyroid disorders, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease and pain, stroke and heart attack. The WebMD article says that women have a 50% higher chance to get an incorrect, or not complete, initial diagnosis. Elsa-Grace Giardina, professor of medicine and founder of the Centre for Women's Health at the Columbia University Medical Center (NY), reveals the disparity between women and men is even higher in under-50 population. Women are more than twice as likely to die in the hospital as the men are. Overall 75% of Americans with autoimmune disease are women and every person needs about 4.6 years and 5 different doctors before getting a correct answer. Women have also more trouble in getting their pain taken seriously: as a report called "The girl who cried pain" tells, women are often more likely to have their pain dismissed as emotional or not real.

Getting an accurate diagnosis is more difficult to women also because there are different symptoms for the same condition, for example: while in men the most commonly reported symptom of heart attack is chest pain, in women there are other symptoms like indigestion, fatigue, shortness of breath and pain in the neck, jaw or arms. Some doctors also think that difficult-to-diagnose symptoms in women have a gynecological cause and miss other possible conditions that could be causing them.

What we can do?

Women have to trust their instincts, because they know their own body and when something is not going right. They have to keep records about symptoms and take note from all medical visits. Woman must be prepared to meet their doctor and think about what's more important that medical have to know about their symptoms.

So, women ask questions if your doctor's answers or treatments are not clear for you. Search for a second, third or a fourth opinion about your problems and try different kinds of medicals in different specialties. Be persistent and use your power: if you think that your doctor is not a partner in your health, go and find a new partner.

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