Gender-specific medical expertise will soon be available in Carinthia

Carinthia pioneers gender-based medical care training programme

Carinthia pioneers gender-based medical care training programme

The programme is aimed at helping doctors make better diagnoses and offer better treatment, based on how men and women react to diseases and medication

Last week, the Austrian state of Carinthia announced it will start a training programme for gender medicine, meaning, the specific application of treatments based on their effectiveness on different genders. Carinthia will fund the programme through the state budget and become a pioneer in this field in Austria.

Not one-size-fits-all

For a long time, men and women have been given the same medical care for diagnosis and therapies. However, due to fairly recent studies, professionals are now aware of some large differences between genders and how they present symptoms of diseases or respond to various treatments and drugs.

One famous example is heart attack. The common way to diagnose it is through the symptom of chest pain and the specific way that chest pain presents itself. However, heart attacks rarely come with chest pain in women.

For them, usually, the disease causes symptoms of nausea, vomiting, anxiety, jaw and back pain, all traditionally considered rarer when it comes to heart attacks. This disparity between diagnoses has often led to treatment being offered too late.

Another famous example is aspirin. For men, aspirin is seen as a great prophylactic drug that has the potential to lower heart disease risk and extend life. Studies have shown that the drug can have the opposite effect on women.

The gendered medicine programme hopes to alleviate the diagnostic disparity, by focusing young medical professionals on the new data. Hopefully, by offering a more diverse diagnostics method, the healthcare system could provide better care for all in the future.

Starting small and building up

Beate Prettner, the Carinthian State Councillor or Health explained that local authorities will start by initially offering five training positions for interested doctors. The training itself will last four semesters and the graduates will later rejoin the healthcare system to help make treatments more focused.

The programme enjoys broad support from both the Austrian Medical Association, the University of Applied Sciences, the Carinthian medical schools and the Chamber of Pharmacists. Furthermore, Miriam Hufgard-Leitner, a gender medicine specialist from MedUni Vienna will also take part in the training.

Next year, local authorities plan to introduce lectures across the state to help inform the general public about the importance of the right treatment. Moreover, the Austrian Medical Association will organise a series of advanced training courses and an international conference on the topic in early summer of 2022.



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