Background: The most commonly reported diagnoses in primary care are useful to identify and meet health care needs in society. We estimated the rates of the most common diagnoses in primary health care in total and also by gender.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional study including all 2.0 million inhabitants living in Stockholm County, Sweden, on 1 January 2009. Data on all health care appointments made in primary care in 2011 and during 2009-11 were extracted from the Stockholm County Council data warehouse VAL (Vårdanalysdatabasen; Stockholm regional health care data warehouse). Primary care data were analysed by underlying population and age. Appropriate specialist open care and inpatient data were used for comparison.
Results: The five most common diagnoses in primary care (in 2011) were acute upper respiratory tract infections (6.0% of the population), essential hypertension (5.6%), coughing (2.6%), dorsalgia (2.6%) and acute tonsillitis (2.4%). Female-to-male ratios were higher for 27 of the 30 most common diagnoses, the exceptions being type 2 diabetes, unspecified types of diabetes and multiple wounds.
Conclusions: The 30 most common diagnoses in primary care reflect the complexity of disorders cared for in the first line of health care. Knowledge of these patterns is important when aiming at using primary health care resources in a proper way.
Keywords: Administrative database; caregivers; epidemiology; family health; gender; primary care; quantitative research/study; women in family medicine.