Sex and age differences in the early identification and treatment of alcohol use: a population-based study of patients with alcoholic cirrhosis.

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    • Abstract:
      Aim To estimate sex differences in health-care utilization among harmful/hazardous drinkers in the period before alcoholic cirrhosis diagnosis, and estimate sex differences in the extent to which alcohol use and brief alcohol interventions were documented for these individuals compared with a control cohort. Design Retrospective study using linked general practice and hospital admissions data in England. Setting Three hundred and fifty-seven general practitioner (GP) practices in England. Participants A total of 2479 individuals with alcoholic cirrhosis (mean age at diagnosis = 56years), of whom 67% were men; and 24 790 controls without the disease. Measurements Rates of primary care visits and hospital admissions prior to the diagnosis of alcoholic cirrhosis for men and women, and the proportion of men and women with alcohol consumption and/or alcohol brief intervention documented in their medical record. Findings Compared with the general population, patients with alcoholic cirrhosis used primary and secondary health-care services more frequently in the years leading up to their diagnosis. In the years prior to diagnosis, men used primary and secondary health-care services more than did women ( P for sex interaction P < 0.0001). Men were more likely than women to have their alcohol use recorded [odds ratio (OR) men = 1.96, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.7-2.3; women = 1.63, 95% CI = 1.4-1.8, P for sex interaction P < 0.0017]. By contrast, alcohol interventions were recorded more commonly among women (OR men = 4.3, 95% CI = 3.7-4.9; women = 5.8, 95% CI = 4.7-6.9, P for sex interaction = 0.07), although less common with increasing age ( P for age interaction = 0.009). Conclusions In the United Kingdom, prior to alcoholic cirrhosis diagnosis, excess health-care utilization is higher in men than women and men are more likely than women to have their alcohol use recorded. However, women appear to be more likely than men to receive alcohol brief interventions. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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