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LaVela SL, Prohaska TR, Furner S, Weaver FM. Preventive healthcare use among males with multiple sclerosis. Public Health. 2012 Oct 1; 126(10):896-903.
OBJECTIVES: To understand preventive healthcare use by males with multiple sclerosis (MS). STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional survey with secondary comparative data. METHODS: Primary survey data were collected from male veterans with MS (n = 1142) and compared with national surveillance data for a general veteran population (n = 31,500) and a general population (n = 68,357). Analyses compared use by group and identified variables associated with service use by male veterans with MS. RESULTS: More veterans with MS had a cholesterol check (93%) than the general veteran population (89%, P < 0.001) and the general population (78%, P < 0.001). More veterans with MS had received annual influenza vaccination (69%) than the general veteran population (58%, P < 0.001) and the general population (42%, P < 0.001). More veterans with MS (81%) had ever received pneumonia vaccination than the general veteran population (67%) and the general population (51%) (P < 0.001). Colon screening was received by 55% of veterans with MS, 49% of the general veteran population (P < 0.001), and 39% of the general population (P < 0.0001). Fewer veterans with MS (34%) had received a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test and digital rectal examination than the general veteran population (46%, P < 0.001) and the general population (36%, not significant). In males with MS, variables independently associated with cholesterol checks were: white race [odds ratio (OR) = 3.75] and living in the south (OR = 1.95); variables independently associated with influenza vaccination were increased age (OR = 1.03) and being a non-smoker (OR = 0.55); increased age was independently associated with colon screening (OR = 1.02); variables independently associated with PSA testing were increased age (OR = 1.08) and being employed (OR = 3.31), and being unemployed was independently associated with pneumonia vaccination (OR = 0.16). CONCLUSIONS: More males with MS received several recommended preventive health services (e.g. cholesterol and colon screening, influenza and pneumonia vaccination) than males without MS. The Veterans Health Administration is meeting many prevention needs in males with MS, but there is room for improvement in areas such as reducing disparities in PSA screening and increasing respiratory vaccinations to meet national targets.