Transsexual women — those who were born biologically male and who transitioned to the female gender — face an incredibly higher risk of blood clots, heart attack and stroke than other people, a new study suggests.
It is a compelling reason for individuals to think twice before altering their physical makeup. Males especially face increased risks if they physically transition to the female gender via hormone therapy as adults.
Notice how the public statement about the worrisome findings was carefully measured.
“While our study confirmed elevated risks of certain vascular events related to hormone therapy, these risks need to be weighed against the important benefits of treatment,” Dr. Michael Goodman, professor of epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta, said in a news release .
Emory’s findings were published July 9 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
The researchers compared almost 4,700 transgender and “gender non-conforming” people (those whose behavior or appearance does not match their birth gender) with more than 97,000 men and women whose gender identity matches their sex at birth.
The results were sobering: Blood clots in the veins — called venous thromboembolism — were nearly two times higher in transgender women, and rates of stroke and heart attack were a staggering 80 to 90 percent higher than those in women without gender issues, and similar to rates in men.
The higher rates of blood clots and stroke among these transgender women were more noticeable several years into estrogen therapy, according to the study, although it could not explain why.
Further research is needed, of course, to learn more about how specific hormone formulations, doses, drug combinations and types of administration may affect the heart risks in transexuals, the study’s authors said.
Two 20-something men in Massachusetts who attend college in Boston reflected seriously on the health issues involved here. Said one, “With more companies, the military, and even prisons under pressure to cover hormone therapy [for transgender people] today, are they actually paying for something that will wind up killing the person they’re trying to ‘help’?”
Said the other, “You are playing Russian roulette if you change your gender from male to female — so you’d better be sure.”