In 2001, a landmark report from the Institute of Medicine, “Does Sex Matter?” stated that sex and gender are both basic human variables and important health determinants. Although broadly utilized, the two terms are often used inappropriately even in the scientific literature. "Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles and behaviors that society considers appropriate for men and women. Masculine and feminine are gender-related terms. “Sex” is a biological construct and includes chromosomes, cells, and tissues. Male and female are sex-related terms.
The increasing body of sex- and gender-specific evidence dictates a change in how medical education approaches teaching both women’s and men’s health. The current segregation of men’s health and women’s health must be expanded to a broader more inclusive sex and gender specific health. This approach
serves to expand women’s health beyond the standard bones, hormones, and reproduction to other diseases and to include men in the consideration of the typical “female-sexed” diseases of osteoporosis, urinary incontinence, and depression. From the prevalence of auto-immune illnesses to the differences in clinical presentation of myocardial ischemia, factual differences in gender and disease are well-known and well-published.
As such, approaching health through the lens of sex and gender‐based medicine is defined as the science of how normal human biology differs between men and women and how the manifestations, mechanisms, and treatment of disease vary as a function of the complex relationship of both sex and gender.
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