Article Archive >> Good Health

New focus on diseases that affect women

New focus on diseases that affect women

(NAPS)-Healthcare providers know that no two patients are alike-and that diseases can manifest themselves quite differently between men and women.
For example, heart attacks plague both genders, but the symptoms vary. Men having heart attacks typically report chest pain that radiates down the arm, while women may instead feel indigestion, extreme fatigue and nausea.
Women often metabolize medicines differently than men in ways that aren't explained simply by differences in body sizes.
For example, researchers have found that women metabolize nicotine more quickly than men, so a lower-dose nicotine patch for smoking cessation may not be as effective for women.
Women are also more prone to diseases that aren't obviously related to their sex-diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, migraines, osteoporosis and fibromyalgia. About 90 percent of Americans suffering from lupus, migraines and fibromyalgia are women.
Recognizing these differences, PhRMA recently released a report on new medicines in development, which finds that America's biopharmaceutical research companies now have 851 medicines in the pipeline for diseases that exclusively or disproportionately affect women.
Some of the greatest strides are being made in understanding and treating autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, which is two to three times more prevalent among women than men.
Currently, more than 100 medicines for autoimmune diseases are in clinical trials or awaiting Food and Drug Administration review.
Many common cancers only or predominantly affect women. Companies are currently working on 139 medicines for these cancers, such as ovarian cancer and breast cancer.
A better understanding of how women react to stress is helping researchers understand how to approach treatments for autoimmune diseases and psychiatric illnesses such as depression and anxiety.
Women's bodies, for example, react to stress by producing higher levels of cytokines, which are cells secreted by the nervous system, said Lorraine Fitzpatrick, M.D., Medicine Development Leader for GlaxoSmithKline.
Progress in understanding and treating autoimmune diseases represents "one of the great strides made recently for women's health," she added.
To find out more, visit www. For more information on biopharmaceutical research and medicines in development, visit

Printable version

<< back to Articles on Good Health
<< back to All Articles