LGB adults less likely to take statins despite higher heart risk
Despite facing higher heart disease risk, adults that identify as lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) are less likely to take cholesterol-lowering medicine like statins.
This was the findings of a study conducted by researchers who did an online survey of 1,531 Facebook users aged 40 and older last September to December 2019.
This study was recently published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Statins for heart disease prevention
Of the total, nearly one-third or 31.6 percent reported to be taking statins for primary prevention against heart disease or cardiovascular disease (CVD).
However, of the 12 percent of respondents who identified as LGB, 20.8 percent were taking the medicine as compared to 43.8 percent of non-LGB adults.
There was no significant differences in the use of statins for secondary prevention– or those using statins for heart disease– between LGB and non-LGB adults.
“There could be many reasons for the difference we observed,” said study author Yi Guo, who is an assistant professor of health outcomes and biomedical informatics at the University of Florida College of Medicine.
“LGB individuals may not go to the doctor as often, which leads to lower chances of being recommended statins for cardiovascular disease prevention,” Guo said in the journal news release.
Significant difference in use of statins
Researchers surmised that one reason this difference could be is that LGB adults may be less aware of their increased risk in heart disease.
“We were surprised to see such a big difference in primary prevention, with less than half of the rate as the non-LGB population,” Guo said.
“This highlights the urgent need for tailored interventions and campaigns that promote the awareness of statin use and cardiovascular health in the LGB population,” he said.
Another reason is that LGB adults may be less aware of the protective benefits of statins.
Need for minority groups to monitor health
The researchers noted the importance of monitoring the use of cholesterol-lowering medicine like statins especially with lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.
Jiang Bian, PhD, associate professor of health outcomes and biomedical informatics at University of Florida College of Medicine, said that “disparities in CVD outcomes remain in certain population subgroups.”
Bian pointed out that sexual and gender minority (SGM) individuals are “at increased risk for CVD events related to elevated rates of health risk factors.”
“Overall, SGM individuals have higher levels of stress related to discrimination and marginalization that has led to health behavioral issues and poor health outcomes,” Bian pointed out.
The researchers admitted that the limitation of the study was using Facebook as a source, as this may not accurately represent the LGB population as a whole, and the health information was self-reported.