Trans women taking hormones are up to 95 per cent more likely to suffer heart disease, a new study has found.
Researchers found that trans women – people born male who identify as women – taking gender-affirming hormones are almost twice as likely to suffer from any cardiovascular disease as men.
The new data is published in the European Journal of Endocrinology.
The study revealed that all transgender people regardless of the sex they were born or the gender they were transitioning to, were at “significantly increased risk” from deadly conditions like heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure and high blood fat and cholesterol levels.
The experts looked at the health of 2,671 transgender people from Denmark over a five-year period with an average age of 22 and 26 for trans men and women respectively.
They compared the incidence of cardiovascular disease with a control group of 26,700 people and presented the results to the European Association for the Study of Diabetes.
People who were “assigned male at birth” and taking oestrogen as a trans woman, were 93 per cent more likely to suffer from cardiovascular disease than men and 73 per cent more likely than women.
The incidence rate was around three per cent for trans women, up from around 1.5 per cent for men and 1.7 per cent for women.
Higher risk of type 2 diabetes
Trans men, who were “assigned female at birth”, but were taking testosterone were 63 per cent more likely to have some form of heart disease than women, and more than double as likely than men.
In this group, the incident rate was around 1.7 per cent for trans men up from 1.1 per cent in women and 0.8 per cent in men.
Dr Dorte Glintborg, lead author from Odense University Hospital, Denmark, said “around a third” of the increased risk in trans men was due to taking hormones.
She said: “Hormone treatments such as oestrogen will increase fat mass and lower lean body mass, and increased oestrogen is usually associated with increased risk of autoimmune disease and inflammation.”
Dr Glintborg said this meant there was also a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes as a result but this was not confirmed by all studies.
However, the contribution of hormones in trans women to their risk of heart disease was not as clear cut, she said.
She also expressed concern about trans women self-medicating with cyproterone acetate to suppress the side effects of hormone (testosterone) therapy and called for more research into the effects of medications used by trans people.