The Gender Difference In Rheumatology Diseases


Rheumatology is a branch of medicine that deals with issues of joints, soft tissues, heritable connective tissue disorders, and autoimmune diseases. One of the widely known conditions that belong to this category of diseases is rheumatoid arthritis. Besides, you must know that rheumatic diseases affect men and women differently, i.e. there is a marked difference in the clinical presentation and frequency. Read on to know more about the gender effect on rheumatology diseases.

Genetic Difference

According to multiple research, men and women have different genetics. This leads to differences or variations in proteins due to the various permutations of X and Y chromosomes. You must know that in the last decade, doctors and other healthcare experts recognized that gender-related differences in rheumatology diseases are not due to hormones but due to the difference in X and Y chromosomes. This becomes especially important when you use medications like disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs). Furthermore, this insight is also implemented in the treatment of other diseases as well.

Research has shown that more genes are present in the active phase in females than in males. For example, in females, the X chromosome in every cell must be inactivated, and this is done randomly. Furthermore, this type of difference is the reason why systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is more common in women than in men.

Difference In Clinical Presentation

Between men and women, there is a difference in the clinical presentation of some rheumatology diseases. For example, men are more susceptible to presenting with spinal arthritis and other symptoms, but women are more likely to consult doctors for issues related to neck or peripheral joints. Apart from this, the difference in the environment can also influence the susceptibility and incidence of an individual.

Perception Of Symptoms

It is believed that the perception of the severity of symptoms varies between men and women. For example, several studies have shown that there is a gender difference in the perception of pain. It is assumed that women have a lower threshold to stimulus, i.e. they experience pain symptoms more severely.

Due to this difference, women get a slightly worse long-term prognosis for rheumatology diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. On the other hand, men tend to discount or ignore symptoms for longer periods and continue with their work or job. This can have a destructive or damaging effect on the joint.

On a final note, remember that to get the best outcome from treatment for rheumatology diseases, you must detect it as early as possible.