women overlooked in healthcare

The healthcare system is another area where women are overlooked.

A large reason for the discrimination against women would be the lack of understanding of how illnesses differentiate between men and women. According to an article by Forbes, women were excluded from clinical trials due to concerns about possible long-term effects on their fertility and unborn children.” This leads to women being diagnosed with diseases and cancer later than men. It is common that women are stereotyped by people who say they are overreacting or being too dramatic. With this misconceived stereotype, women hold off longer to go see a provider that leads to them not discovering medical conditions till later on. The dismissal of the symptoms that some women present can be dangerous. If a certain condition is left without treatment it can be very detrimental. It is shocking to see that women have experienced the dismissal of their symptoms and have been told that it may be a mental health issue. In an article by Duke Health it states that, “One in five women say they have felt that a health care provider has ignored or dismissed their symptoms, and 17% say they feel they have been treated differently because of their gender—compared with 14% and 6% of men, respectively.”

  • Women received diagnoses later than men in connection with 770 types of diseases. There was an average difference of about four years
  • In case of cancer, women were on average diagnosed 2.5 years later than men
  • For metabolic diseases such as diabetes, women were on average diagnosed about 4.5 years later
  • In connection with ADHD, there was a difference of almost six years between the time when the two groups received diagnoses

Women pay significantly higher rates than men in healthcare. With these higher rates a lot of women struggle to pay for healthcare. This makes it hard to get  prescription medications which are necessary for certain people to maintain good health. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 80% of women pay more expenses than men. Many companies benefit off of charging women more because we are seen to use it more. The Kaiser Family Foundation found the following information below.

  • One in four (24%) women report having had problems paying medical bills in the past 12 months, over half (57%) of whom say this was due, at least in part, to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Among women experiencing problems with medical bills in the past year, nearly half (48%) have had difficulty paying for basic necessities like food, heat, or housing because of the bills, as have six in ten (61%) low-income women.

I came across an article that left me speechless. Harvard Public Health wrote an article about African American women being mistreated in public health. Shalon Irving, an African American woman, had a baby at the age of 36. She had a history of high blood pressure and a blood clot disorder. Knowing her pregnancy was risky, she went through with it and had a successful C-section. Her request to leave two days after was accepted, so she went home and continued to rest. Three weeks later she went to her primary care provider with a painful hematoma at her incision, high blood pressure, and many other symptoms. She was told by clinicians that her symptoms were normal and that she just needs to wait it out. A few hours later after her last appointment, she took a new blood pressure medication that was recently prescribed to her. After she took that medication she collapsed and shortly passed away after her family had to remove her life support. This article was very hard to read. She knew her symptoms weren’t normal and that something was wrong. However, no one would take the time to listen and do a simple check up to make sure everything was okay. She was simply overlooked and Shalon Irving is not the only one. There are still high rates of maternal mortality due to underlying stereotypes against women.

When it comes to medical issues, everyone should be treated equally. It is sad to see that many people are mistreated when seeking help. Overall, the healthcare system has come a long way when fighting for equal rights, whether it be for the actual employees or people seeking medical help. However, there is still a long way to go.

One thought on “women overlooked in healthcare

  1. WOW! This was mind blowing to read. I decided to look into a few other discrepancies in the health care system and saw that when it comes to pain, women are taken a lot less seriously then men and are much less likely to be prescribed pain medication, etc.

    Like

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