HEALTH / WELL-BEING

Correlates of CVD and discussing sexual issues with physicians among male military veterans

Article

This article examines the socio-demographic and health behavior factors associated with cardiovascular disease and patient-physician communication concerning sexual issues among older Veterans.  These findings suggest older male Veterans, particularly racial/ethnic minorities and those less-educated, may benefit from community-based aging and sexual health/counseling services which should promote increased patient-physician communication.

Abstract

Purpose This study aims to identify socio-demographic and health behavior factors associated with cardiovascular disease (CVD) diagnosis and patient-physician communication concerning sexual issues among older Veterans. Methods Cross-sectional data were collected from 635 male Veterans over age 55 years as part of the 2010 National Social Life, Health and Aging Project, a nationally-representative, population-based study of community-dwelling older Americans. Two independent logistic regression analyses were performed. Results Over 33% of Veterans were aged 75 years or older. Over one-half of participants reported having a CVD diagnosis (58%) and sexual intercourse within the previous year (58%); over one-third (37%) reported having one or more sexual dysfunctions and discussing sexual issues with their physician (42%). Veterans diagnosed with CVD were significantly more likely to self-identify as racial/ethnic minorities (OR = 1.89, P = 0.021), have more chronic disease comorbidities (OR = 1.23, P = 0.041), and have more sexual dysfunctions (OR = 1.19, P = 0.028). Veterans diagnosed with CVD were significantly less likely to report having sex within the previous year (OR = 0.53, P = 0.005). Veterans who reported discussing sexual issues with a physician were significantly more likely to be ≥75 years (OR = 1.79, P = 0.010), and report more than a high school education (OR = 1.62, P = 0.016), CVD diagnosis (OR = 1.59, P = 0.015), sex within the previous year (OR = 1.69, P = 0.033), and trouble achieving/maintaining an erection (OR = 3.39, P < 0.001). Implications These findings suggest older male Veterans, particularly racial/ethnic minorities and those less-educated, may benefit from VA and community-based aging and sexual health/counseling services. These services should promote increased patient-physician communication as well as referrals between physicians and sex health/counseling specialists.

Full Reference

Smith, M.L., Golts, L., Honore, H., Motlagh, A.S., Sangnam, A., Bergeron, C.D., Ory, M.G.. 2016. Correlates of CVD and discussing sexual issues with physicians among male military veterans. Maturitas, 92: 168-175.