LGBT health issue in focus.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual adults have a “disproportionately high risk” of heart disease and other cardiac problems when compared to heterosexuals.
For this study, researchers at the Baptist Health South Florida Clinic in Miami, Florida in the US focused on seven areas of controllable heart health and found that these minority groups were particularly likely to be smokers and to have poorly controlled blood sugar.
The research team used survey data from 2,445 adults, as well as interviews and medical exams of a representative cross section of the study population to track heart health. They found that only one in 20 (5%) of the participants identified as being lesbian, gay or bisexual. Participants were not asked to identify whether they were transgender, so the potential health inequality could be even greater.
While family history of heart disease and age are uncontrollable risk factors for heart disease, the other areas where heart health was measured included blood pressure management, cholesterol, physical activity, weight and diet.
The researchers found that across all seven health scores, those who identified as lesbian, gay and bisexual were 36% less likely to be in the healthy range.
The results “point towards a disproportionately higher risk for cardiovascular disease among sexual-minority populations,” Dr. Anshul Saxena, a biostatistician led the research, was quoted as saying in Independent.co.uk.
Following the presentation of the research at a meeting of the American Heart Association, the call is, therefore, for doctors to do more to tackle health inequality in “sexual minority populations”.