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Gender-Affirming Hormone Therapy Tied to Systolic BP Changes

MONDAY, April 19, 2021 -- Within two to four months of starting gender-affirming hormone therapy (GAHT), transfeminine adults have lower mean systolic blood pressure and transmasculine adults have higher mean systolic blood pressure, according to a study published online April 19 in Hypertension.

Katherine Banks, M.D., from The George Washington School of Medicine & Health Sciences in Washington, D.C., and colleagues conducted the largest and longest observational study to date using multiple blood pressure readings from a racially and ethnically diverse sample to examine the effect of GAHT on blood pressure in adult transgender populations. Blood pressure measurements were followed for 470 transgender and gender-diverse adults (247 transfeminine and 223 transmasculine). Blood pressure was measured at baseline and at multiple follow-up visits up to 57 months after GAHT initiation.

The researchers found that mean systolic blood pressure was 4.0 mm Hg lower in the transfeminine group and 2.6 mm Hg higher in the transmasculine group within two to four months of starting GAHT. These changes were maintained during the follow-up period. No changes were seen in diastolic blood pressure for either group. Within two to four months of GAHT, there was a 47 percent decrease in the prevalence of stage 2 hypertension in the transfeminine group.

"Given that gender-diverse people have a higher burden of cardiovascular disease and hypertension than cisgender people, identifying individuals with hypertension is important so that treatment can be initiated to modify this important risk factor," the authors write.

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