Differences in Hypertension by Sexual Orientation Among U.S. Young Adults
Using a nationally representative data set, this study provides the first estimates of differences in hypertension by sexual orientation using objective measures of systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Logistic regressions showed that there were no differences in hypertensive risk between mostly heterosexual/bisexual identified-respondents and heterosexual-identified respondents among both men and women. Gay men, however, are almost twice as likely (odds ratio = 1.92, p < .01) to be hypertensive compared to heterosexual men. The elevated risk is not explained by measures of minority stress, nor by cardiovascular disease risk factors such as smoking, alcohol use, drug use, BMI, or physical activity. No differences in hypertension risk by sexual orientation were detected among female respondents. The results suggest that gay men face an excess risk for hypertension compared to heterosexual men that is not explained by differences in measured health behaviors.
KeywordsHypertension Sexual orientation Lesbians Gays Health behavior
This work was supported by the Eunice Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) grant R03 HD062597, NICHD and Office of Research on Women’s health (ORWH) grant number K12HD055892, and by the University of Colorado Population Center (Grant R24 HD066613) through administrative and computing support. We also thank Dr. S. Bryn Austin for her insightful comments.
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