A Nationwide Study of Prevalence Rates and Characteristics of 199 Chronic Conditions in Denmark

Pharmacoecon Open. 2020 Jun;4(2):361-380. doi: 10.1007/s41669-019-0167-7.


Background: Real-world data of disease prevalence represents an important but underutilised source of evidence for health economic modelling.

Aims: The aim of this study was to estimate nationwide prevalence rates and summarise the characteristics of 199 chronic conditions using Danish population-based health registers, to provide an off-the-shelf tool for decision makers and researchers.

Methods: The study population comprised all Danish residents aged 16 years or above on 1 January 2013 (n = 4,555,439). The study was based on the linkage of national registers covering hospital contacts, contacts with primary care (including general practitioners) and filled-in out-of-hospital prescriptions.

Results: A total of 65.6% had one or more chronic condition. The ten conditions with the highest degree of prevalence were hypertension (23.3%), respiratory allergy (18.5%), disorders of lipoprotein metabolism (14.3%), depression (10.0%), bronchitis (9.2%), asthma (7.9%), type 2 diabetes (5.3%), chronic obstructive lung disease (4.7%), osteoarthritis of the knee (3.9%) and finally osteoporosis (3.5%) and ulcers (3.5%) in joint tenth place. Characteristics by gender, age and national geographical differences were also presented.

Conclusions: A nationwide catalogue of the prevalence rates and characteristics of patients with chronic conditions based on a nationwide population is provided. The prevalence rates of the 199 conditions provide important information on the burden of disease for use in healthcare planning, as well as for economic, aetiological and other research.