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Gay, Straight, Or Bisexual - Which Group Of Men Are More At Risk Of Heart Failure?

 

Can your sexuality increase or decrease your risk of heart failure?  A new study released by the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing states that Bisexual men have a higher risk for heart disease compared with heterosexual men.

Now, of course it is not because you're sleeping with men, but it's because of everything else that may come with it.

In a new study published online in the journal LGBT Health, Billy Caceres, the study's lead author, states:

Our findings highlight the impact of sexual orientation, specifically sexual identity, on the cardiovascular health of men and suggest clinicians and public health practitioners should develop tailored screening and prevention to reduce heart disease risk in bisexual men.

More than 30 percent of men in the US have some form of heart disease making it a leading cause of death for American men. Not many studies have been done to understand the impact of sexual orientation on heart disease risk for men.

In this study, NYU researchers examined differences in modifiable risk factors for heart disease and heart disease diagnoses in men of different sexual orientations. Risk factors measured included:

mental distress
health behaviors such as

  •       tobacco use
  •       binge drinking
  •       diet
  •       exercise

biological risk factors such as

  •       obesity
  •       hypertension
  •       diabetes
  •       cholesterol.

Responses from 7,731 men ages 20 to 59 were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2012). Differences were analyzed across four groups based on their sexual identities: gay men, bisexual men, heterosexual men who have sex with men, and heterosexual men.

The researchers found no differences in heart disease diagnoses based on sexual orientation, but risk for heart disease was more complicated.

  • Gay men, heterosexual men, and heterosexual men who have sex with men had similar heart disease risk.
  • Gay men reported lower binge drinking compared with heterosexual men, but otherwise few differences in health behaviors were noted.
  • Bisexual men, however, had higher rates of several risk factors for heart disease relative to heterosexual men: mental distress, obesity, elevated blood pressure, and three different measures of diabetes (medication use, medical history, and average glycosylated hemoglobin level).

"Poor mental health is a recognized risk factor for the development of heart disease," said Caceres. "Clinicians should be educated about sexual minority health and should routinely screen bisexual men for mental distress as a risk factor for heart disease. This is particularly important as healthcare organizations increasingly include sexual orientation as part of demographic questionnaires in electronic health records."

 

h/t: medicalexpress.com

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These kinds of (correlational) studies need to be reported very carefully because there are so many ways of interpreting them. FOR EXAMPLE: Some people who argue that identifying as "bisexual" is a stop enroute to coming out as "gay," could see the results as due to the added stressors in still lying to oneself and of the behaviors that come along with this self-deception. Others could see the stressors as due to the fact that both, gay and heterosexual men, hold biases against bi-men. There are lots of other ways of shading these results to fit into people's pre-conceived notions of what it means to be bi- in today's society.    .....     I prefer the more honest statement that we simply do not really understand the mechanisms by which bi-people are at greater risk of heart disease. As this article seems to suggest, the study's results should be seen as a warning sign that our bisexual brethren are being placed at greater risk of heart disease and we should respond with accordingly.

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