With Gay Pride Week coming to a close this weekend, Gothamist Health wants everyone to feel good and to get out and enjoy the festivities and big Parade. On that note, the Department of Health released a list of 10 tips this week to promote a healthy LGBT lifestyle. While we understand that we are all at risk for most health problems, there are a few conditions are a bit more common in the gay community. Some are more obvious than others, but it never hurts to review - many of them are applicable to people of all sexual orientations:
See other people
Some gay people fear discrimination and prejudice from their health provider. The doctor-patient relationship, ideally, should be a strictly confidential one, free of social judgment. If you don’t dig your doc, find another one. Call 311 for help finding cheap health coverage.
While New Yorkers have been smoking far less in the past few years, LGBTs are still more likely to light up. The good news? They’re also more likely to try to quit. Check out the DOH’s tobacco cessation page or see if you qualify for the FREE nicotine patch program.
Heart your heart
This goes for all of us. Exercise, keep an eye on your cholesterol and blood pressure, and watch what you eat. If you take meds for your heart, take `em! How much exercise should you get? It seems the old adage of 30 minutes a day 4 days a week still holds.
Check your status
Anyone who’s ever been sexually active or used needles recreationally should get an HIV test. While we’re all potential carriers, gay men are still at a higher risk. Use condoms. And if you get high, keep your needles to yourself.
Check your head
LGBTs are, sadly, at higher risk for depression – usually attributed to discrimination and social stigma. If you feel down for more than 2 weeks, you may be clinically depressed and may need to talk to a professional. Call 1-800-LIFENET to find a counselor.
[The rest of the list continues below, after the jump.]
So we hope to see everyone out at the parties, dances, and Parade. And speaking of which, the NY Times writes about this year's Grand Marshall, Florent Morellet, who has been living with HIV for the past 20 years. Click here for the full schedule of Pride events for this weekend, and check out NY1's Gay Pride Week features.
Everything in moderation, people. Though there is no demographic that isn’t afflicted by drug and alcohol abuse, LGBTs are at an increased risk for stress related substance abuse. A doctor can help in setting up a program to help you quit.
Take in a screening
Gay people are at a higher risk for some cancers, namely certain squamous cell carcinomas. But there are no screening guidelines in place for gay patients at this time so the following applies to everyone: folks over age 50 should get a colonoscopy, sexually active women aged 18-65 should get regular Paps, all women over 40 should get a yearly mammogram. Unfortunately, gay women are less likely to get Paps or mammos.
Get a shot in the arm
Everyone over 50, get a flu shot. Everyone over 65, get the pneumonia vaccine. Everyone with heart and lung problems, get both. Gay men are at higher risk for hepatitis A and B. Ask your doctor about the Hep B vaccine.
You-proof your home
Domestic violence affects everyone, regardless of orientation and it’s a crime. If you or someone you know is being abused, call the City’s domestic abuse crisis line at 311 or 1-800-621-HOPE. If you have little kids, ask your landlord to inspect and fix peeling paint to avoid lead paint chips from ending up in junior’s belly. If your building has more than 3 apartments, the landlord is legally required to do this.
Be your baby’s baby-daddy/mommy
If you’re pregnant, get regular prenatal care and take a multivitamin with folic acid to prevent birth defects. Don’t smoke or drink while pregnant. And parents-to-be? Don’t smoke around the expecting mommy.