Transgender men and women are more likely to have heart attacks than cisgender people, according to a new US study.
The researchers hope that the study—which was published in Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes—will inspire future research into ways to improve transgender patients’ cardiovascular health.
Transgender people may be at higher risk of heart attacks due to ‘social stressors’
Statistics about transgender patients and their history of heart attacks was gleaned from the Behavioural Risk Factor Surveillance System.
In the study, the researchers note trans people may be more likely to have heart attacks because of “an increase in social stressors, health disparity, poor socioeconomic status, and substance abuse.”
“We don’t have enough awareness or enough health care dedicated to this population.”
– The study’s authors
The study says: “Increased stress levels related to neglect, abuse, and mistreatment have been hypothesized to contribute to increased inflammation, which may, in turn, predispose to cardiovascular disease.”
They also note that transgender people are more likely to face unemployment and poverty, which can lead to challenges in accessing healthcare.
The study found that hormonal replacement therapy may put a transgender person at higher risk of heart attacks due to an increase in “inflammatory markers” which can promote blood clots. This is thought to not affect younger transgender people in the same way.
Authors of the study say transgender people can be ‘afraid’ of mistreatment from medical professionals
The researchers who authored the study say it is the first investigation of a large cohort of transgender people in the United States that looks at their reported medical history.
Tran Nguyen, a medical student and co-author of the study, told the GW Hatchetthat the health care community “should be more equipped to take care of transgender patients and make them feel welcome in the clinic.”
“You create an environment so that they can come to us and seek the care they need help with.”
She also said transgender patients are often reluctant to seek medical treatment as they can be “afraid” of being mistreated by professionals.
“We don’t have enough awareness or enough health care dedicated to this population,” she said.
Meanwhile, Talal Alzahrani told the GW Hatchet that social stressors needed to be considered in the study.
“Our study would likely raise the awareness among clinical providers and transgender population about the risk of heart attack to emphasize about the importance of primary coronary artery disease prevention in the transgender population,” she said.