At Our Family Direct Primary Care, we understand that no one seeking health care services wants second best. Everyone deserves to have equal access to quality healthcare that meets their individual needs.
During Pride Month, we’re highlighting common health issues in the LGBTQ community and providing guidance on receiving the best care. According to HealthyPeople.gov, research suggests that LGBTQ individuals face health disparities linked to societal stigma, discrimination, and denial of their civil and human rights. Discrimination against LGBTQ persons is associated with high rates of psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, and suicide. For this reason, LGBTQ people may benefit from more frequent check-ups. Below, see our tips on how to go about taking care of your health:
- Healthcare provider. It is not always easy to find a healthcare provider who knows how to treat transgender people. Make sure to ask your provider if your insurance will cover the cost.
- Health history. Let your healthcare provider know what medicines you have taken and any surgeries you may have had. Your provider will be able to provide you with better care if they know your health history.
- Hormones. Talk with your healthcare provider about hormone treatment. If you’re starting hormones for the first time, ask about the risks. If you’re taking estrogen, ask about blood clots, swelling, high or low blood pressure, and high blood sugar. If you’re taking testosterone, ask if you need to take a blood test to ensure your testosterone dosage is safe. Be sure to take only the hormones your provider prescribes.
- Cardiovascular health. Transgender people may be at an increased risk for heart attack or stroke due to hormone use, smoking, obesity, and diabetes. Tell your provider if you have chest pain or trouble breathing.
- Cancer. Although rare, you should get checked for cancer along with the rest of your physical examination.
- STDs. Just like anyone else, LGBTQ people may contract sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV or hepatitis. That’s why it’s important to practice safe sex. Ask your doctor about safe sex practices.
- Mental health. Some illnesses are invisible, but they can still make an impact on your well-being. LGBTQ people are at an increased risk for mental health issues such as depression. If you are LGBTQ and live with a mental health condition, it’s crucial to prioritize your mental health.
- Alcohol/drugs. Because those in the LGBTQ community are more likely to struggle with substance abuse, it is critical to get help when you need it.
If you’re struggling with addiction or mental health, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Here are some resources:
- SAMHSA’s National Helpline for mental or substance use disorders: samhsa.gov/find-help/national-helpline
- TrevorLifeline for LGBTQ mental health counselors: https://www.thetrevorproject.org/
- CDC Network for LGBTQ health needs: https://www.cdc.gov/lgbthealth/health-services.htm
Visit https://ourfamilydpc.com/contact/ to schedule your next check up.