Objective: To estimate the cost of providing health care to patients with type 2 diabetes, by differentiating costs of the disease, costs of complications, and other unrelated health costs.
Methods: Data on resource use were retrospectively collected from medical records and personal interviews in 29 primary health care centers in Spain. Patients were randomly selected from each center's diabetes registry.
Results: We evaluated 1004 patients (561 women) with a mean age of 67.42 years and a mean disease duration of 10.07 years. A total of 50.9% had no complications, 17.7% had macrovascular complications only, 19.5% had microvascular complications only and 11.9% presented both types of complication. The annual health cost per patient was 1305.15 euros. Of this cost, 28.6% (373.27 euros) was directly related to diabetes control, 30.51% (398.20 euros) was related to complications of the disease, and 40.89% (533.68 euros) was unrelated. The mean cost of patients with no complications was 883 euros compared with 1403 euros for those with microvascular complications, 2022 euros for those with macrovascular complications and 2133 euros for patients with both types of complication.
Conclusions: Because of the high cost of treating type 2 diabetes and its complications, preventive measures should be implemented and control of the disease should be improved to reduce the costs associated with chronic complications.