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


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.

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