If you identify as bisexual, you may need to be more mindful of your heart health
Scientific research has long since shown that men who identify as LGBT struggle with higher percentages of health problems. The large body of investigations have historically focused on mental health challenges – until now.
A new study appearing in the peer-reviewed journal LGBT Health shows that bisexual men appear to be at higher risk for heart disease when compared to their heterosexual counterparts.
The study was led by Billy Caceres, PhD, an adjunct faculty member at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. He’s also a postdoctoral research fellow at Columbia University School of Nursing.
There was a total of 7,731 of male participants who took part in this investigation between the ages of 20-59. Respondents were part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHNES) [2001-2012].
The NHNES is a nationwide survey that is used to monitor the health of Americans.
Here is what happened – 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.
Investigators found no observable differences in heart disease diagnoses based on sexual orientation. That said, the risk for heart disease was more complicated.
According to a press release:
“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.”
But here was the interesting part:
“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).”
Caceres said the following about the findings:
“Poor mental health is a recognized risk factor for the development of heart disease. 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.”
So, bottom line – if you identify as bisexual or sexually fluid, it might not hurt to talk to your healthcare provider. And don’t forget there is a link between mental and physical health.