Chapter 11 - Chapter 11- Psychology and Womens Health...

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Chapter 11- Psychology and Women’s Health Issues Women’s health research o Health - complete state of physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or illness o Women’s health research- relatively new field of study, women were absent from biomedical research for most of its history Why were women excluded ? Women might be pregnant and not know it- protect fetus Women’s bodies are “complicated” due to fluctuating hormones- too many confounding variables Women historically have not been doing the research White male norm generalized to all people o Androcentrism - the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing male human beings or the masculine point of view at the center of one’s view of the world and its culture and history Pervaded until feminist movement of 1970s still exists though Current examples of androcentrism: Women have often been neglected in medicine and in medical research (i.e.- recommendations that adults take daily low dose aspirin to reduce risk of heart disease and stroke not true for women) Only in 1993 did NIH mandate that women and people of color must be included in biomedical research o Gender and health: Heart Disease Heart disease is influenced by genetics, age, and behavior high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure are two of the leading risk factors for heart disease, and cholesterol levels are genetically influenced Estrogen has positive effects on cholesterol so that, before menopause, estrogen is a protective factor against heart disease for women
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In terms of behavioral factors- cigarette smoking is a major risk, and men are more likely to be smokers, although women are catching up; diets can raise or lower cholesterol levels; regular exercise protects against heart disease Another example of androcentrism: silent disease (women are more likely to experience angina or chest pain, which is often ignored by both them and their physicians vs. the flashy way men’s heart disease manifests) Women manifest heart disease 10 years later than men Heart attacks are more often fatal for women Women and men have different symptoms/signs Women are sometimes misdiagnosed as having anxiety attack or
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Chapter 11 - Chapter 11- Psychology and Womens Health...

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