Gender violence related to higher risk of death for women

A study by the Universities of Warwick and Birmingham, says that gender violence is also related to the development of cardiometabolic diseases. 

Woman covering her face with her hands.

Woman covering her face with her hands. / Photo: Freepik

The Woman Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez Toro

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Leer en español: Violencia de género aumentaría riesgo de muerte para mujeres.

Gender-based violence, as read on Infosalus, consists of physical, psychological, sexual, financial and emotional abuse by men over women. This is an extremely common phenomenon since it is estimated that 1 in 3 women worldwide and approximately 1 in every 4 women in the UK have experienced it at some time in their life.

According to the UN, it is estimated that 35 percent of women worldwide have suffered physical and / or sexual violence by a partner or sexual violence by someone other than their partner at some point in their lives, and these figures do not include sexual harassment. 

The work, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that women who have suffered gender-based violence are 40 percent more likely to die from any cause compared to the general population.

To get to these findings the team used the medical records of surgeries of family doctors between 1995 and 2017 and was able to identify 18,547 women who have suffered gender violence. They were compared with 72,231 similar women in terms of age, body mass index and condition that did not suffer this violence.

Then, they monitored both groups while contributing to the data set and calculated the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases and all-cause mortality. They found that the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases increased by 31 percent and the risk of type 2 diabetes by 51 percent.

"Although our study could not answer exactly why this relationship exists, we believe it is probably due to the effects of acute and chronic stress. In addition, we know that experiencing gender violence may be associated with other lifestyle factors, such as poor diet, alcohol, and tobacco, as seen in our study," explains the leader of this research, Joht Singh Chandan.

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"As further in-depth detail of the traumatic experiences is not available in these records it was not possible to assess whether the severity of domestic abuse was associated with a different risk impact. It is important to note that not all cases of domestic abuse go on to develop adverse health outcomes, but from this study, we can see that within this dataset, the cohort of women recorded to have experienced domestic abuse are at a greater risk than those without such records present", he added as read on University of Birmingham. 

As read on Futurity Org, the study identifies a discrepancy: an estimated 1 in 4 women in the survey data have experienced domestic abuse, compared to about 0.5% coded as such in GP data. This means that many of those not coded as exposed to domestic abuse may have actually experienced some abuse. If this is the case, then it would suggest that the displayed results may be an underestimation.

This work adds to the growing research published by the team at the two Universities exploring the physical and psychological effects of domestic abuse. In 2019, the team published research that showed that women who have experienced domestic abuse are almost twice as likely to develop fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome, while a previous study published in June 2019 showed that UK survivors of domestic abuse are three times more likely to develop severe mental illness.


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