DALLAS, June 21, 2022 – There is mounting evidence that the at least 20 million LGBTQ+ adults in the U.S. experience worse cardiovascular health compared with cisgender, heterosexual adults. This June, as communities celebrate Pride Month, the American Heart Association, a global force for longer, healthier lives for all, is raising awareness of ongoing health inequities LGBTQ+ people experience. Scientific statements from the Association have found that a mix of discrimination, risk factors, barriers and clinical reasons that may explain this disparity.[1]

  • LGBTQ+ adults experience multiple, interrelated psychological and social stressors, including exposure to discrimination and violence. While data on how these stressors affect cardiovascular health is limited, there is evidence that mental health has direct effects on physical health, and stressors can contribute to increased inflammation, which impacts heart health.¹
  • LBGTQ+ adults in historically excluded racial or ethnic groups may experience higher poverty levels, insecure housing, and fewer health care options than their white LGBTQ+ peers. ¹
  • A real fear of discrimination may prevent some in the LGBTQ+ community from accessing primary or preventative care. Nearly 3 in 4 people who are part of sexual and gender minority groups have reported some form of discrimination by a health care professional and up to 1 in 4 have been denied care.¹

Access to appropriate and compassionate health care can improve and save lives, yet accrediting bodies and organizations responsible for health care professional curricula have not specifically required LGBTQ+-related content, thus very little exists in health professional education training. In fact, a 2018 online survey of students at 10 medical schools found approximately 80% of students did not feel competent to provide care for transgender patients.¹

“Reversing the trend of LGBTQ+ folks having increased risk for poor cardiovascular health is a rallying cry for us at the American Heart Association,” said Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA, president of the American Heart Association and chair of the department of preventive medicine, the Eileen M. Foell Professor of Heart Research and professor of preventive medicine, medicine and pediatrics at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “We stand with the LGBTQ+ community by funding innovative research, advocating for public health and sharing lifesaving resources.”

Learn more about the Association’s work at Pride with Heart | American Heart Association.

Additional Resources


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries: 214-706-1173

Tracie Bertaut, APR: 504-722-1695; Tracie.Bertaut@heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org

[1] Caceres et al. Assessing and Addressing Cardiovascular Health in LGBTQ Adults. Circulation. 2020;142:e321–e332.