WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — Among those reporting alcohol use, patients with certain common medical conditions are more likely to report excessive drinking, according to a study published online May 13 in JAMA Network Open.

Stacy A. Sterling, Dr.P.H., from Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland, and colleagues used electronic health record data to evaluate associations between 26 medical conditions and alcohol consumption levels in 2,720,231 adult primary care patients (52.9 percent female; 32.5 percent aged 18 to 34 years) screened for unhealthy drinking from 2014 through 2017.

The researchers found that patients with any of the conditions (except injury or poisoning) had lower odds of drinking at low-risk and unhealthy levels relative to no reported use versus those without the condition. Based on 861,427 patients reporting alcohol use, patients with diabetes (odds ratio [OR], 1.11), hypertension (OR, 1.11), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD; OR, 1.16), or injury or poisoning (OR, 1.06) had higher odds of exceeding daily drinking limits only. There were higher odds of exceeding weekly drinking limits for those with atrial fibrillation (OR, 1.12), cancer (OR, 1.06), COPD (OR, 1.15), or hypertension (OR, 1.37). Patients with COPD (OR, 1.15), chronic liver disease (OR, 1.42), and hypertension (OR, 1.48) had higher odds of exceeding both daily and weekly drinking limits.

“Health systems and clinicians should take a more targeted approach to help patients with certain medical conditions reduce unhealthy alcohol consumption and health risks,” the authors write.

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