Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) adults who may benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs to prevent cardiovascular disease are less likely to take them than non-LGB adults. This is according to a new study published today in the Journal of the American Heart Association Access Journal of the American Heart Association.

According to a scientific opinion from the American Heart Association, LGB adults are at higher risk of cardiovascular disease than non-LGB adults, in part because they smoke, drink alcohol, use drugs, and are obese more often. There is strong evidence that cholesterol-lowering drugs called statins prevent cardiovascular disease in adults who have never had cardiovascular disease but who have risk factors such as high cholesterol or diabetes. When it is prescribed for someone who has not yet been diagnosed with heart disease, it is called primary prevention for cardiovascular disease. Statins also benefit people who already have cardiovascular disease. For these adults, statins are taken for secondary prevention.

“Our study was the first to estimate the prevalence of statin use in the LGB population,” said study author Yi Guo, Ph.D., MSPH, assistant professor of health outcomes and biomedical informatics at the College of Medicine, University of Florida at Gainesville, Fla. “We compared statin use rates between LGB and non-LGB individuals using online Facebook surveys and found that LGB respondents had significantly lower rates of statin use for primary cardiovascular disease prevention compared to non-LGB respondents However, this was not the case in secondary prevention. “

Guo and colleagues conducted an online survey with a paid Facebook advertising campaign between September and December 2019. The researchers targeted adult Facebook users in the US with an interest in LGB keywords such as “Gay Pride” and developed a series of ads referencing the survey. The survey covered sexual orientation, gender identity, statin use, health status, chronic illness, smoking status and more.

Your analysis of 1,531 Facebook respondents aged 40 and over showed:

More than 12% were identified as LGB.

Almost a third of all respondents were taking statins.

Less than 21% of LGB adults were taking statins for primary prevention, compared with nearly 44% of non-LGB adults.

There was no significant difference in statin use between the LGB and non-LGB groups for secondary prevention. “There could be many reasons for the difference observed,” said Guo. “LGB individuals may not see a doctor as often, which means that statins are less likely to be recommended for preventing cardiovascular disease.”

He adds that the LGB population may also be less aware of their risk for cardiovascular disease and the protective effects of statins. “We were surprised to see such a big difference in primary prevention, with less than half the rate for the non-LGB population. This underscores the urgent need for tailored interventions and campaigns to raise awareness of statin use and cardiovascular health in the EU promote LGB population. “

“Healthcare providers should address their own prejudices and understand the complexities of LGB patients to ensure they are making policy-making recommendations in a culturally competent manner,” said study co-author Dr. Jiang Bian, Associate Professor of Health Outcomes and Biomedical Informatics at the University of Florida College of Medicine.

“What we found agrees very well with the American Heart Association’s statement for LBGTQ adults,” said Bian. “First, more research is needed to better understand the health risks and outcomes of cardiovascular disease in the LGB population. Second, educational programs are needed to educate health professionals about these unique health risks and outcomes in the LGB population and the appropriate way of communication to inform LGB people. “

Some of the limitations of the study include that using Facebook as a source may not accurately reflect the LGB population as a whole, and the health information itself was reported. “However, since no studies have reported the prevalence of statin use in the population with sexual and gender minorities, our study provides important initial data and confirms the need for additional research,” said Guo. “We need detailed studies to understand the use of LGB statins based on clinical data from real-life situations, such as electronic health records (EHRs) or regulatory information.”

Was a statin beneficial for primary cardiovascular prevention in older adults?

More information:
Yi Guo et al., Statin Use for Prevention of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Adult Sexual Minorities, Journal of American Heart Association (2020). DOI: 10.1161 / JAHA.120.018233 Provided by the American Heart Association

Quote: LGB adults may be less likely to take statins for heart disease prevention (2020, December 2), which will be available on December 2, 2020 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-12-lgb-adults-statins-heart-disease .html

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