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.