Overhauling Women’s Healthcare
Reproductive health, critical though it is, is not the sum of women’s health. The distinctive development of female bodies across the lifespan requires targeted study to uncover the pathways of acute and chronic conditions and the treatments that will control or cure them. Women generally live longer than men, but are at greater risk of osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and stroke, and their heart disease remains poorly studied and under-diagnosed. Physician bias, reflected in a failure to listen to women or to dismiss their symptoms as stress or hormones, also undermines care. As gender-specific research and women-centered clinical practice bring new prominence to the health needs of half the world’s population, the status quo no longer obtains, opening the door to bolder approaches.