chapter  1
10 Pages

Need to Optimize the Health of Women

Without question, there are specific diseases for which women are more susceptible compared with men. The biological basis for these differences, including the cellular and molecular mechanisms, is often not identified or understood but nonetheless it is widely known that differences in disease incidence and risk exist between men and women. Some of these differences are summarized in Table 1.1 [1,2]. While more heart attacks occur in men, more deaths occur in women within a year after a heart attack. Similarly, while fewer women experience a stroke, more women will die as a result. Depression, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and fibromyalgia are all the more common in women compared with men. There is a need to better understand the sex-based differences in the biology, physiology, and disease risks, and to better understand the unique role of nutrition in the maintenance of good health and the management of chronic diseases.