Diabetes, healthcare cost and loss of productivity in Sweden 1987 and 2005--a register-based approach

Diabet Med. 2009 Sep;26(9):928-34. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2009.02786.x.


Aim: The aim of this study was to estimate healthcare cost and productivity losses as a result of diabetes and diabetes-related chronic complications in Sweden in 1987 and 2005.

Research design and methods: Published estimates on relative risks and Swedish age-specific diabetes-prevalence rates were used to calculate the proportions of diabetes-related chronic complications that are attributable to diabetes. These attributable risks were applied to cost estimates for diabetes-related chronic complications based on data from Swedish population registers.

Results: The estimated total costs for Sweden in 1987 and 2005 were EUR439m and EUR920m, respectively. The increase of 110% was as a result of a 69% increase in the estimated prevalence from 150 000 (1.8% of the population) to 254 000 (2.8%) and of an increase in the estimated annual cost per person diagnosed with diabetes by 24%. Healthcare accounted for 45% of the estimated cost in 1987 and for 37% in 2005. The estimated diabetes-related healthcare cost accounted for approximately 1.0% of total healthcare cost in Sweden in 1987 and for 1.4% in 2005. Diabetes per se accounted for 57% of the healthcare cost in 1987 and for 50% in 2005. The most important chronic complication was cardiovascular disease.

Conclusions: The cost of diabetes is substantial and increasing even in a fairly low-prevalence country such as Sweden. Measures to curb the increase in prevalence and to improve individual control of his or her diabetes seem to be the most important challenges.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Diabetes Complications / economics*
  • Diabetes Complications / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / epidemiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / economics*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Registries / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Factors
  • Sick Leave / economics*
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data
  • Sweden / epidemiology