According to a survey sponsored by the CDC, being transgender (people whose sexual identity does not match gender at birth) in America can be more hazardous to one’s health than many people realize. In fact, transgender adults reportedly are less likely to describe themselves as healthy as compared to their cisgender counterparts (people who’s sexual identity corresponds with the gender they were born as).
While some of this may be attributed to hormonal problems, a 2004 survey regarding gender identity conducted by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System found that many transgender individuals forego seeking medical care for fear of being rejected by healthcare providers who do not know how to deal with the situation. In addition many of their needs are not covered by insurance companies. This can include hormone therapy used to make them either more feminine or masculine.
Hazards of hormones
Using hormones can bring on severe side effects. For instance, estrogen can raise blood pressure, as well as blood sugar, and increase blood clotting, while high doses of testosterone (especially when taken orally) can cause liver damage. Meanwhile anti-androgens, such as spironolactone, can lower blood pressure, disrupt electrolytes, and lead to dehydration. While cancers related to hormone use are rare, men transitioning into women are still at risk for prostate cancer, while women transitioning into men who still have ovaries and wombs, as well as breasts are vulnerable to cancers associated with these organs the same as any other female.
Speaking of changing appearances, transgender people who use silicone injections to alter their bodies may leave themselves open to numerous health problems, particularly if not done by a certified plastic surgeon, the least of which can result in permanent disfiguration. In addition, silicone administered by non-medical personnel is generally not medical grade and may be contaminated. Another danger is that it is often administered via shared needles, which can transmit HIV/AID as well as hepatitis, etc.
Sexually active trannies also need to be vigilant about practicing safe sex, particularly using condoms regardless of their stage of transition to prevent transition of other STDs including syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV and chlamydia, as well as crabs and public lice.
Other physical health issues as per the CDC sponsored survey are connected to a higher rate of tobacco use and poor dietary habits (often due to depression and anxiety) that directly lead to higher risk fort heart disease and obesity. In fact, data from the study showed that while approximately 66% of cisgender people had a BMI of (at least) 25, the rate jumped to 72% for transgender people.
The reason for this may lie (in large part) due to high rates of depression and anxiety plaguing transgender individuals.
While all segments of the population have shown an increase in depression, the rate again seems to be higher among those with gender identity issues. In fact, more than 22% of the (1,443) transgender people who responded to the survey were diagnosed with depression vs slightly more than 18%of the (nearly 314,450) cisgender responders in 20 states It was also noted that suicide rates were higher among teens and young adult transgenders due to a lack of much needed social and professional support.
Note: Data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Survey was reviewed by researchers from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston, MA, with their ultimate conclusions published in the new issue of JAMA Internal Medicine.