Gender Differences & Illness Perception
What is the relationship between gender and health?
Gender differences in illness can be seen not only in the symptoms but also in how the illness needs to be treated or managed, while many illnesses such as Diabetes, Epilepsy, and heart disease are not found to differ depending on sex. Research has found that other diseases such as obesity, depression, and migraines may be more prevalent in women. They also have more physical symptoms, such as feeling tired, headaches, and dizziness. Lung cancer, HIV/AIDS, and digestive disorders may be more likely to occur in male patients (Ogden 2017).
The treatment for the same illnesses cannot be the same for all genders. That’s because there will be examples where a female patient may have similar symptoms but build it differently, as explained by Johnson in “His and Hers … health care” she had a female patient that had the symptoms of reoccurring heart disease but had tested negative on the test results, whereas when they had completed different types of testing, they were able to find that her symptoms were correct, but the way that her body had formed the cholesterol in her arteries was not the same as the standard blockage that would have been detected by the standard test (Jhonson 2013).
How does gender affect perception of health?
While both resources cited above claim that these differences are related to gender, they can likely be related to common reasons behind gender differences and stereotypes. The illnesses that are more prevalent in female patients can be related to a higher number of diagnoses as a female patient may be more likely to seek help at the sign of symptoms.
In the textbook resources, there had no listed symptoms that male patients may endure more than their female counterparts. Such exclusions can relate to the social construct that seeking medical help is not a “manly” action.
The illnesses listed as more prevalent in men are related higher to the health relater behaviours and coping. For instance, male patients are less considerate about smoking or vaping, which can lead to lung disease, as well as unprotected sex can infect HIV/AIDS, and eating habits can cause digestive disorders.
The Role of Health behaviours will have an evident impact on the health of the patient. Male patients are less likely to seek medical help at the sign of symptoms and are more likely to engage in negative health behaviours that can lead to an increased probability of disease and illness. “People who miss multiple appointments are an under-researched group who might have substantial unmet health needs.” (Ellis. et al. 2017).
The increased negative health behaviours can relate to the social construct that seeking medical help is not a masculine trait, and in turn, may result in increased consumption of alcohol and smoking as coping. It is also less likely that a male patient will seek help for emotional illnesses. Such as depression and anxiety.
Seeking Medical Help
Help-seeking health behaviours can also have an impact on the health and life span of a patient. Male patients are less likely to seek medical help, and when they feel that they need to, there is usually a substantial time from when the initial symptoms would have occurred. Help-seeking health behaviours also go along with standard health check-ups and screenings, which not only can impact the individual patient, but also the community as male patients are also more likely to engage in unsafe sexual practices.
According to “Associations Between Masculine Norms and Health-Care Utilization in Highly Religious, Heterosexual Men” men are less likely to seek health care based on the masculine norms that embed in a social construct, from family history, and the importance of caring for the family over themselves when related to the financial implication of seeking health care01.
Why do men underestimate risk perception?
Male patients underestimate risk perception as they will commonly believe that they have less of a risk from negative health-related behaviours and coping. Risk perception is shown in male patients using fewer health care preventive methods and delaying treatment or screenings, but also it is related to other variables such as age, occupation, social status, and race 01.
In conclusion, gender differences seem to have a related impact on symptoms, illness, and treatment methods. Many of the factors can be common reasons behind gender differences and stereotypes and not necessarily the Male to Female biological impact. Further investigation is needed to clarify the role of gender in health and illness.
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