Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Sexual Minority Women (18-59 Years Old): Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2012)

Billy A. Caceres, Abraham A. Brody, Perry N. Halkitis, Caroline Dorsen, Gary Yu, Deborah A. Chyun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: Sexual minority women (lesbian and bisexual) experience significant stigma, which may increase their cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk. The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence of modifiable risk factors for CVD (including mental distress, health behaviors, blood pressure, glycosylated hemoglobin, and total cholesterol) and CVD in sexual minority women compared with their heterosexual peers. Materials and Methods: A secondary analysis of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (2001-2012) was conducted. Multiple imputation with chained equations was performed. Logistic regression models adjusted for relevant covariates were run. Self-report (medical history and medication use) and biomarkers for hypertension, diabetes, and high total cholesterol were examined. Results: The final analytic sample consisted of 7,503 that included 346 sexual minority women (4.6%). Sexual minority women were more likely to be younger, single, have a lower income, and lack health insurance. After covariate adjustment, sexual minority women exhibited excess CVD risk related to higher rates of frequent mental distress (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.05; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.45–2.88), current tobacco use (AOR, 2.11; 95% CI, 1.53–2.91), and binge drinking (AOR, 1.66; 95% CI, 1.17–2.34). Sexual minority women were more likely to be obese (AOR, 1.61; 95% CI, 1.23–2.33) and have glycosylated hemoglobin consistent with prediabetes (AOR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.04–2.34). No differences were observed for other outcomes. Conclusions: Sexual minority women demonstrated increased modifiable risk factors for CVD, but no difference in CVD diagnoses. Several emerging areas of research are highlighted, in particular, the need for CVD prevention efforts that target modifiable CVD risk in sexual minority women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Volume28
Issue number4
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery

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