There are some diseases and conditions that only affect women, and others that most of us immediately, if not exclusively, associate with them, like breast cancer (although men can get it, too) and eating disorders (same thing).
But there are also a slew of health problems are far less likely to be recognized as issues disproportionately impacting women, which means many struggle to get help and answers — for months and even years at a time. At the top of that list are autoimmune disorders, which occur when the body’s immune system attacks itself, and that are far more common in women than in men. For some autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, 9 out of 10 people affected are women, explained Virginia Ladd, founder and executive director of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.
“Why that is is still not known,” she told The Huffington Post. “There is a lot of research looking at the effects of estrogen — the hormonal effect. But we definitely need much more.”
Here are seven health conditions — autoimmune and otherwise — that disproportionately affect women.