Researchers have found that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations often experience higher rates of mental health conditions and sexually transmitted diseases. However, few studies have focused on other physical health disparities that may affect these populations.
Researchers supported by the Population Dynamics Branch analyzed data from the “fourth wave” survey of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which interviewed eligible respondents when they were between ages 24 years to 36 years. In analyzing data on sexual orientation, as reported by respondents, and objective measures of hypertension (i.e., systolic and diastolic blood pressure), the scientists found that gay men had a 38.7% prevalence of hypertension, compared with the 27.2% rate for heterosexual men. They did not find comparable differences in hypertension by sexual orientation among women.
The differences in hypertension between gay and heterosexual men persisted even after cardiovascular disease risks were accounted for in the analysis (PMID: 23397511).