Prevalence of chronic diseases and morbidity in primary health care in central Greece: an epidemiological study

BMC Health Serv Res. 2010 Aug 28:10:252. doi: 10.1186/1472-6963-10-252.


Background: In Greece there is lack of large epidemiological studies regarding morbidity and mortality in primary health care. The aim of the present study was to estimate the prevalence and morbidity of the most common diseases in a large population sample from primary health care.

Methods: Four primary health centres were randomly selected. During one year period, 12 visits were performed in each centre, one per month, in random order and all visitors willing to participate in the study were included. Data on morbidity of each subject were recorded after performing an interview with the participant and checking his medical records, medical history and current medication. Diseases were coded using the international classification of primary care (ICPC) system.

Results: In total 20,299 subjects were recorded. The results revealed significant variations in morbidity between genders and age groups. However, in all age groups, diseases of the circulatory system were most prevalent, followed by endocrine, metabolic, musculoskeletal and respiratory diseases. Osteoporosis was significantly more prevalent in females compared to males, whereas skin and eye disorders were more prevalent in subjects below 65 years old. COPD prevalence was very low compared to worldwide data.

Conclusions: The present study revealed great variations in the prevalence of the diseases between genders and age groups. Our data justify the urgent need for the development of electronic health records that may help in the design of new prevention strategies in primary health care.

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Chronic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Morbidity / trends*
  • Mortality / trends*
  • Prevalence
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Statistics, Nonparametric