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Gay people 'at higher risk of chronic illness'

Wednesday 30th March 2011
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Homosexual and bisexual people in the later stages of life are more at risk of certain chronic illnesses compared to their heterosexual counterparts, research has indicated.

Gay and bisexual men are more likely to suffer from higher rates of blood pressure, physical disability, diabetes and have lower self-rated health, according to researchers at the University of California Los Angeles.

Furthermore, gay and bisexual people of both genders were seen to have increased levels of psychological stress compared to others. Reports of this were found to be 1.35 times higher in women and 1.45 in men.

Susan Cochran, co-author, said that a lack of strong family support for gay and lesbian people could be leading to an inability to tackle such illnesses.

"Organisations that serve these communities need to take this into account and consider outreach and support mechanisms that enable these individuals to maintain their independence and ability to age safely and in good health," she added.

This follows a Department of Health report which said that patients in NHS hospitals have an improved standard of care.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said that the findings were welcome but the NHS is facing the challenge of dealing with a rapidly aging population and increasing technological costs.

Written by Angela Newbury

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