Causes of alcohol-attributable death and associated years of potential life lost among LGB and non-LGB veteran men and women in Veterans Health Administration

Abstract: Alcohol use is a significant concern nationally and research now highlights higher rates of alcohol attributable death (AAD) and years of potential life lost (YPLL) among lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) veterans compared to non-LGB veterans. In this study, we examined specific causes of AAD and associated YPLL between LGB and non-LGB veteran men and women to highlight needed outreach, prevention, and treatment strategies. Using data from the nationwide Veterans Health Administration electronic health record and National Death Index from 2014 to 2018, we examined the top ten ranked causes of AAD among LGB (n = 102,085) and non-LGB veteran (n = 5,300,521) men and women, as well as associated YPLL per AAD. We observed higher rates of AAD among men than women, but higher rates among LGB veterans relative to their same-sex non-LGB counterparts. We noted greater YPLL per AAD among LGB men and all women compared to non-LGB men, even when of similar or same rank in cause of death. Acute-cause AAD death (e.g., alcohol-related suicide, poisonings) was ranked higher among LGB men and all women. YPLL was greater for both acute- and chronic-cause AAD (e.g., liver disease) among LGB men and all women compared to non-LGB men. Causes of AAD differ between LGB and non-LGB men and women. The differences observed highlight disparities in acute- and chronic-cause AAD between groups help explain the higher number of YPLL per AAD that disfavor LGB men and women veterans, and essential next steps in primary and secondary prevention of hazardous drinking and mortality risk.

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