EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — According to the American Heart Association, LGBTQ+ adults are at a higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease, often because of discrimination in health care settings.
To help inform LGBTQ+ adults in El Paso about the dangers of cardiovascular disease, the American Heart Association of El Paso will be hosting a booth at the 15th annual El Paso Sun City Pridefest Block Party at Raves Club from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Saturday.
“The American Heart Association strives to improve the lives of all El Pasoans, including our incredibly vibrant LGBTQ+ community,” said Leal. “We’ll be at the El Paso Sun City Pridefest Block Party to celebrate our city’s diversity, as well as to provide tobacco cessation resources, such as information on classes and tips to quit smoking.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, cigarette smoking among LGBTQ+ individuals is higher than the average. Approximately 1 in 5 LGBTQ+ adults smoke cigarettes compared with about 1 in 6 heterosexual adults.
The organization said that those in the LGBTQ+ community often face stressors due to sexual orientation, putting them at a high risk for cardiovascular disease, as well as adversely affecting their mental health. The AHAEP said that life adversity and financial stress can lead to unhealthy coping behaviors resulting in an increased prevalence of cardiovascular disease, including:
- Higher levels of tobacco use
- Higher stress and anxiety levels
- Elevated body mass indexes from a poor diet
- Lower levels of physical activity
“Our data shows that there are some real disparities for the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to cardiovascular diseases,” said Monica Leal, public health program manager for the American Heart Association of El Paso. “These gaps in health are often driven by exposure to social stressors, such as discrimination, family rejection or even violence based on one’s sexual orientation or gender identity. These pressures can lead to activities that can negatively affect a person’s health and well-being.”