New gender-specific health care

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NRW promotes gender-specific health care

Men and women are often subject to very different health problems. However, these differences are only marginally taken into account in medical care. The state government therefore plans to invest six million euros in North Rhine-Westphalia, which will flow into projects for gender-specific health care.

As the Ministry of Health of North Rhine-Westphalia announced on Friday in Düsseldorf, medical treatment for women and men is often still no distinction. The health complaints, the disease symptoms and the course of the disease are often extremely gender-specific, which should be taken into account in health care, said North Rhine-Westphalian Minister of Health Barbara Steffens (Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen). For this reason, the state government plans to invest six million euros in gender-specific health care projects.

Gender-specific differences in the course of diseases According to the North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Health, there is a need for gender-specific treatment, particularly for heart attacks, depression and overweight. According to the ministry, women suffer an heart attack on average around ten years later than men, but these are far more likely to be fatal, which is an urgent concern for medical care. When it comes to obesity, significantly more men than women are affected. While in this country half of the adult men are struggling with weight problems, this affects only a third of the women. Barbara Steffens emphasized that this aspect also "receives far too little in prevention and rehabilitation". According to the state health minister, the gender differences in depression are also extremely pronounced. Two to three times more women than men are treated for the mental illness, but the suicide rate is significantly higher for depressed men.

Differences between men and women in depression disorders Current studies justify these gender-specific differences in depression disorders, at least in part, with the significantly higher willingness of women affected to seek medical help. The disease is more often recognized as such in women and the time of diagnosis is usually at a much earlier stage of the disease, which favors successful therapeutic treatment, experts from the German Society for Man and Health (DGMG) explained in a recent interview with the news agency "dpa ". According to the DGMG, men, on the other hand, often suppress their psychological problems, with fatal consequences, as confirmed by the increased suicide rate of depressed men. At the beginning of the year, a day clinic for depressed men opened in the small town of Sehnde near Hanover in Lower Saxony, which should take into account the gender-specific differences in depression. Similar projects can now also be funded in North Rhine-Westphalia with the available six million euros.

Special health care for women and men The opposition in the North Rhine-Westphalian state parliament, however, accused the state government of concentrating too much on supporting women in the current plans, while health care for men is more in the background. However, according to the health policy spokesman for the FDP parliamentary group, Stefan Romberg, the fact that there is a significant need for men to take action is also evident from the “life expectancy of men compared to women that is more than five years shorter”. In his view, gender-specific health care for men is clearly neglected. However, the state government has the option to fund projects such as the above-mentioned day clinic for depressed men with the money made available. The approach of promoting gender-specific health care with the help of public funds is therefore to be welcomed overall. (fp)

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