Your Early Death Risk Goes Down If You See This Type Of Doctor, According To A New Study

Your relationship with your doctor is pretty important. You might only see your doctor every once in a while if you don't get sick very often, but a regular checkup is important to screen your cholesterol, blood pressure, and heart rate. Your doctor might also look for any visual signs of any conditions but also check your lungs and reflexes. Depending on your age and medical history, your doctor will also suggest screenings for diabetes, colon health, or reproductive health.

While your doctor is your choice (depending on your health plan), the sex of your doctor could make a difference if you're a woman (by the way, you should find a new doctor if this happens to you). A 2024 study in the Annals of Internal Medicine looked at the 30-day outcomes of more than 770,000 Medicare recipients who visited the hospital. The female patients treated by women doctors had a lower risk of dying within 30 days than if they were treated by male doctors.

Why there might be a disparity between doctors

Although the difference in mortality was slight — just 0.24% — it was still statistically significant enough for the researchers to note. Senior author of the study, Dr. Yusuke Tsugawa of UCLA, said that there shouldn't be any differences in patient outcomes.

"What our findings indicate is that female and male physicians practice medicine differently, and these differences have a meaningful impact on patients' health outcomes," Tsugawa said in a news release. Male patients treated by female doctors also had a slightly lower risk of mortality, but the difference wasn't statistically significant.

The researchers suggested that male doctors might not take female patients' conditions as seriously. Women doctors might also have better communication skills with female patients that facilitate the communication of key information for an accurate diagnosis (consider the questions your doctor wishes you would ask). Female patients might also feel more comfortable with female doctors.

The researchers noted that the study's results can't be generalized to younger people. In other words, having a woman doctor while you're younger doesn't necessarily lead to a lower risk of early death.