Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults who could benefit from cholesterol-lowering medicine to prevent heart disease are less likely than non-LGB adults to take them.
This is according to new research – “Statin Use for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Among Sexual Minority Adults” – written by Yi Guo, Christopher W. Wheldon, Hui Shao, Carl J. Pepine, Eileen M. Handberg, Elizabeth A. Shenkman, and Jiang Bian, and which appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
As it is, sexual minorities – including LGB individuals – are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease. This can be attributed to elevated rates of health risk factors, including smoking and having obesity.
For this study, the researchers conducted a cross‐sectional online survey about statin use in adults ≥40 years of age between September and December 2019 using Facebook advertising. In total, 1,531 people responded to targeted Facebook ads.
The researchers calculated the prevalence of statin use by age, sexual orientation, and statin benefit populations. They used multivariable logistic regression to examine whether statin use differed by sexual orientation, adjusting for covariates.
Analysis showed that less than 21% of LGB adults were taking statins, compared to 44% of their non-LGB peers.
“We observed a significantly lower rate of statin use in the LGB versus non‐LGB respondents (20.8% versus 43.8%; P<0.001) in the primary prevention population,” the researchers reported.
In a news release, study author Yi Guo – an assistant professor of health outcomes and biomedical informatics at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Gainesville – said that “there could be many reasons for the difference we observed… LGB individuals may not go to the doctor as often, which leads to lower chances of being recommended statins for cardiovascular disease prevention.”
But looking at the use of statins among people who already had cardiovascular disease, there was no disparity between LGB and non-LGB adults.
For Guo, members of the LGB population may be less aware of the protective effect of statins.
For the researchers, the “results emphasize the urgent need for tailored, evidence‐based cardiovascular disease prevention programs that aim to promote statin use, and thus healthy aging, in the LGB population.”