Sex and gender differences influence key domains of research, lung health, healthcare access and healthcare delivery. In interstitial lung diseases (ILDs), mouse models of pulmonary fibrosis are clearly influenced by sex hormones. Additionally, short telomeres, a biomarker of telomere regulation gene mutations, are impacted by sex, while heritability unexplained by genetic variation may be attributable to gendered environmental factors that drive epigenetic control. Diseases like idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, hypersensitivity pneumonitis, occupational ILDs, connective tissue-associated ILDs and lymphangioleiomyomatosis have different prevalence and prognosis between men and women. These differences arise from a complex interplay between biological sex and sociocultural gender influencing genetics, epigenomic modifiers, hormones, immune function, response to treatment and interaction with healthcare systems. Much work remains to be done to systematically integrate sex and gender analysis into relevant domains of science and clinical care in ILD, from strategic considerations for establishing research priorities to guidelines for establishing best clinical practices. Accounting for sex and gender in ILD is essential to the practice of individualised, patient-centred medicine.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine