4 Diseases that Strike Women Differently than Men

No one needs to be told that women are different than men. It should therefore be no surprise that gender differences apply even when it comes to health and disease.

Here are the top 4 diseases that affect men and women very differently:

Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both women and men, but that doesn’t mean it’s the same for both.

Men develop heart disease ten years earlier than women, on average. However, more women die each year of heart disease than men. In addition, although men have a higher incidence of heart attack, women are less likely to survive their first heart attack than men are.


Osteoporosis, a condition in which the bones become brittle and fragile, appears to be the opposite of heart disease: According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF), osteoporosis is three times more common in women than in men, but more deadly in men.

Men are less likely to be treated for their osteoporosis, and osteoporosis takes a greater toll on their health. For example, men are more than twice as likely as women to die within one year of a hip fracture. So while men are less likely to have osteoporosis, for those who do, the condition is more dangerous.


Depression is so common that it is called the “common cold” of mental illness. But this “bug” does not affect everyone equally: Women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with depression.

While, traditionally, depression has been considered an under-diagnosed condition in men, recent studies have found evidence that men report less depression because they respond to life stressors differently than women. In situations where women are likely to become depressed, these studies say, men are more likely to develop alcohol or drug dependencies.

Autoimmune Disease

Autoimmune disease describes a broad range of illnesses — there are over 80 known types of autoimmune disease. In an autoimmune disease, a person’s immune system mistakenly identifies a person’s own cells as foreign intruders, and attacks them.

In general, autoimmune diseases are twice as common in women as in men. However, three of the most common autoimmune diseases: lupus, multiple sclerosis (MS), and rheumatoid arthritis (RA), are three times more likely to strike women than men.

Vive la difference? Yes, the difference between men and women has been celebrated since the beginning of time. However, when it comes to health, this difference requires serious attention.

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