Recommendations for cardiovascular disease research with lesbian, gay and bisexual adults.J Clin Nurs. 2016 Dec; 25(23-24):3728-3742.JC
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The purpose of this paper is to provide recommendations to strengthen cardiovascular disease research with lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, and highlight implications for practice.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals face significant discrimination that negatively impacts their health. Health disparities research in lesbian, gay and bisexual adults have focused on mental health, sexually transmitted infections and substance use. Although cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and many lesbian, gay and bisexual adults report increased risk factors for cardiovascular disease, there has been limited research in this area.
This paper is a critical review.
A literature search was conducted that compared cardiovascular disease risk and/or prevalence between lesbian, gay and bisexual and heterosexual adults.
Measures to assess cardiovascular disease risk factors and diagnoses varied widely across the 31 included studies. There was a lack of standardisation in definitions used for alcohol consumption, illicit drug use, mental health and self-rated physical health. Most studies that reported body mass index relied on participant self-report. Few studies included measures of physical activity and diet and those that did lacked standardisation. Only seven studies used laboratory data to establish diagnosis of cardiovascular disease.
This study is the first comprehensive review on this topic. In cardiovascular disease research with lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, there is a need for: (1) inclusion of stress as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, (2) standardised measures, (3) objective measures for determining the presence of cardiovascular disease, (4) data from electronic health records to strengthen the study of cardiovascular disease in this population.
RELEVANCE TO CLINICAL PRACTICE
Strengthening cardiovascular disease research in lesbian, gay and bisexual adults is an important step in addressing health disparities in this population. Nurses and other healthcare professionals should assess sexual orientation in routine health assessments.