New York, June 22 (IANS) Being bisexual can be harmful for cardiovascular health as a new study suggests that bisexuals are at a higher risk of heart disease compared to heterosexual men across several modifiable risk factors.
According to the researchers, little is known about the impact of sexual orientation on heart disease risk in men, despite the fact that gay and bisexual men may be at a higher risk based on modifiable factors like tobacco use and poor mental health.
“Our findings highlight the impact of sexual orientation, specifically sexual identity, on the cardiovascular health of men and suggest clinicians and public health practitioners should develop tailored screening and prevention to reduce heart disease risk in bisexual men,” said lead author Billy Caceres from New York University.
For the study, published in the journal LGBT Health, the researchers examined differences in modifiable risk factors for heart disease and heart disease diagnoses in 7,731 men aged between 20 to 59 of different sexual orientations.
Risk factors measured included mental distress, health behaviours such as tobacco use, binge drinking, diet, and exercise and biological risk factors such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol.
Participants who reported having angina, coronary heart disease, heart failure, heart attack or stroke were considered as having a diagnosis of heart disease.
Differences were analysed across four groups based on their sexual identities — gay men, bisexual men, heterosexual men who have sex with men and heterosexual men.
The researchers found no differences in heart disease diagnoses based on sexual orientation, but risk for heart disease was more complicated.
They also found that bisexual men 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).