Sexism in Medicine

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The difference in treatment for men and women.

Medicine has segregated the sexes in its research focus. Typically things are researched by categories, i.e. women and rheumatoid arthritis, men and diabetes, breast cancer and women, etc. . But more and more medical research is becoming androgenous. We are now looking at rheumatoid arthritis, or RA as it impacts both men and women. We are looking at common ingredients, triggers, and treatments for both sexes. What we are finding in particular about RA is that it is impacted by the amount of testosterone in the body. This is true for both men and women. As you age (either sex) you lose testosterone. Once this happens you also become more at risk for RA. If you replace your lost testosterone, you can reduce the risk or intensity of RA.

This week, Brett Newcomb and I are talking about testosterone and arthritis. From this beginning, we segue into other topics of aging and testosterone. We point out the connection between loss of testosterone and other autoimmune disorders such as MS, and fibromyalgia.

Brett mentions his theory that most men do not realize that they produce estrogen naturally, and that women produce testosterone. We discuss the interplay of these two hormones and the effect on the body of losing these as we age. One of the points made in the podcast is about how doctors measure your loss of estrogen, testosterone and other hormones through blood tests. Lab results will compare your present blood count with those of “normal” young men or women. I carefully explain how to use this information in more useful ways to determine what your levels today should be rather than compare you to others your own age. I look at not what you “should have” at your current age, but what you should have to be healthy, vivacious and lively!

Please listen to this podcast to get a refresher course on talking to your doctor about your hormone levels and the blood tests that measure them.