Alcohol Likely Worsens Adherence to Diabetes Preventive Care
In addition to its effect on morbidity and mortality, alcohol use influences the self-management of chronic illness. Using data from a national survey, researchers examined whether alcohol use worsens adherence to diabetes care. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders (e.g., age, race, diabetes duration, insulin use).
- Among 10,980 adults with self-reported diabetes, 70% were current nondrinkers, 28% were moderate drinkers (average <=1 drinks per day for women, <= 2 drinks for men) and 2% were heavy drinkers (average >1 drink per day for women, >2 drinks for men).
- Heavy drinkers were significantly more likely than nondrinkers to not perform daily glucose self-monitoring and to not have had an eye exam in the past year (odds ratios 1.8 and 2.2, respectively).
- Moderate drinkers were significantly more likely than nondrinkers to not perform daily glucose self-monitoring and to not have had a provider visit for diabetes in the past year (odds ratios 1.3 and 1.8, respectively).
- Annual self-reported hemoglobin A1c monitoring, annual foot exams, and formal diabetes education did not significantly differ by levels of alcohol consumption.
Though unable to prove causality, this cross-sectional study illustrates that alcohol use is associated with less self-care among adults with diabetes. Subsequently, these patients likely increase their risk of adverse outcomes. Clinicians should assess alcohol use in patients with diabetes and inform them of the many ways alcohol can harm their health.Joseph Conigliaro, MD, MPH
Chew LD, Nelson KM, Young BA, et al. Association between alcohol consumption and diabetes preventive practices. Fam Med. 2005;37(8):589–594.