Lesbians have worse heart health, gay men better than hetero counterparts

Lesbian and bisexual women were found to be less likely to have a healthy heart compared to heterosexual women, according to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. On the other hand, gay and bisexual men were more likely to have a healthy heart compared to heterosexual men. These findings come from a study that examined differences in heart health among sexual minority adults in France using metrics developed by the American Heart Association.

The study is the first of its kind to look at heart health disparities among individuals in sexual minority groups, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and heterosexual. The researchers used a set of metrics called Life’s Essential 8 and Life’s Simple 7 to measure ideal cardiovascular health.

“Improving these metrics is a great opportunity to prevent heart problems before they happen,” said lead study author Omar Deraz. He also emphasized the importance of healthcare providers being aware of the risks of heart disease among sexual minority adults. This awareness will enable better conversations between doctors and patients about heart health and prevention.

“Improving cultural competency and awareness of cardiovascular disease risk among sexual minority adults may help to improve conversations between doctors and patients about cardiovascular health, including prevention and management,” Deraz said. “Understanding and overcoming barriers to health care access are essential to improve cardiovascular disease prevention and care in sexual minorities.”

Previous research has shown that sexual minority adults are less likely to seek healthcare and may delay getting medical attention compared to heterosexual adults. This study aimed to understand if there are differences in heart health scores among different sexual orientation groups.

The research analyzed health data from over 169,400 adults in France who did not have heart disease. The participants were part of a nationwide study called CONSTANCES. The study randomly recruited participants from 2012 to 2020 and included clinical examinations and laboratory tests.

Among the women in the study, the majority identified as heterosexual, while a small percentage identified as bisexual or lesbian. Among the men, most identified as heterosexual, with smaller percentages identifying as bisexual or gay. Some participants chose not to answer questions about their sexual behavior.

After taking into account factors like family history of heart disease, age, and social factors, the analysis showed that lesbian and bisexual women had lower heart health scores compared to heterosexual women. However, among women who had been pregnant, lesbian women had higher heart health compared to heterosexual women. Gay and bisexual men had higher heart health scores compared to heterosexual men.

The study also found that sexual minority men living in rural areas had lower heart health scores compared to their urban counterparts. The researchers noted that mental health conditions, discrimination, and societal stressors could contribute to unhealthy behaviors and impact heart health among sexual minority populations.

The study provides valuable insights into the cardiovascular health of sexual minority groups. However, the findings may not apply to other countries, and further research is needed to explore the association between heart health scores and heart disease risk among sexual minority populations.

The research was funded by various organizations, including the French National Research Agency and the Ministry of Health. The study was conducted in France, which has universal health care insurance, so the results may not be fully applicable to other countries.

Overall, this study highlights the importance of addressing cardiovascular health disparities among sexual minority populations and promoting equity in heart health for all individuals.

The material in this press release comes from the originating research organization. Content may be edited for style and length. Want more? Sign up for our daily email.