Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) adults are more likely to be more sickly compared to their heterosexual counterparts. This is according to an American study that particularly noted that LGB older adults have a weakened immune system, and low back or neck pain.
In “Chronic Health Conditions and Key Health Indicators Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Older US Adults, 2013-2014” published in American Journal of Public Health, Karen I. Fredriksen-Goldsen, Ph.D., Hyun-Jun Kim, Ph.D., Chengshi Shui, Ph.D. and Amanda E. B. Bryan, Ph.D. examined the disparities in chronic conditions and health indicators among LGB adults aged 50 years or older in the US. To do this, they used data from the 2013 and 2014 National Health Interview Survey to compare disparities in chronic conditions, health outcomes and behaviors, health care access, and preventive health care by sexual orientation and gender.
The study found that – aside from LGB older adults having a weakened immune system, and low back or neck pain – sexual minority older women were also more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to report having arthritis, asthma, a heart attack, a stroke, a higher number of chronic conditions, and poor general health. Meanwhile, sexual minority older men were more likely to report having angina pectoris or cancer. Rates of disability and mental distress were similarly higher among LGB older adults.
“At substantial cost to society, many disparities in chronic conditions, disability, and mental distress observed in younger LGB adults persist, whereas others, such as cardiovascular disease risks, present in later life,” the researchers stated. They now recommend that interventions be made to “maximize LGB health”.