Today we will talk about a very important topic for men, which is the effect of heart disease and diabetes on their intimate relationships
Part of the problem is that quality of care is not routinely measured and reported by gender. Conventional methods of measuring quality of care focus on average “quality performance scores” across the overall population. Separate assessments and reporting by gender are rare, so the care received by women is generally assumed to be equal to that received by men, despite evidence to the contrary. As a result, the quality gap in care remains largely invisible to individual women, providers, payers and policymakers, even among those seeking to improve women’s health and health care. In cases where gender gaps in care have been monitored and targeted, such as in recent initiatives (PDF) by the Veterans Health Administration, marked reductions in gender disparities in CVD and other types of care have been achieved; though some gaps persist.
In our study, gender gaps in cholesterol screening varied geographically and favored men far more often than women. Among CVD patients, there were gaps favoring men in 79 percent of counties. In 35 percent of counties, those gaps were moderate (from 5 to less than 10 percentage points) or large (at least 10 percentage points). In 12 percent of the counties there were small gaps (from 1 to less than 5 percentage points) favoring women. Among patients with diabetes, which has not traditionally been viewed as a man’s disease, there were moderate gaps favoring men in 17 percent of counties and small gaps favoring men in another 40 percent of counties. In contrast, there were large gaps favoring women in 4 percent of counties, moderate gaps in 2 percent, and small gaps in another 12 percent.
Closing the gender gap is crucial if women are to benefit equally from improvements in care for CVD and diabetes. At the same time, focusing on gender gaps can inform a broader discussion of the prevalence and burden of CVD in women and the need for improvements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment.