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Gac Sanit. 2006 Mar;20 Suppl 1:15-24.

[Diabetes mellitus in Spain: death rates, prevalence, impact, costs and inequalities].

[Article in Spanish]

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Consejería de Salud de la Junta de Andalucía. Sevilla. España.



Describing the situation of diabetes mellitus (DM) in Spain from a public health perspective.


manual review of books and other documents on diabetes mellitus in Spain was conducted. In addition, a specific research of articles published using MeSH terms diabetes mortality, prevalence, incidence, cost, inequalities and Spain was conducted in Medline through Internet (PubMed). Minimun Basic Data Set was utilized as source for complication description by Communities Autonomus.


DM is one of the leading cause of mortality and the third one in women. With regard to Autonomous Communities, Canary Islands, Ceuta y Melilla and Andalusia show the greatest mortality with a downward trend. Diabetics present greater mortality than non diabetic patients, being complications the main cause of the over-mortality, especially ischemic heart disease. Estimations of prevalence for DM2 range from 4.8% to 18.7% and for DM1, from .08% to .2%. In pregnancy, it has been noted a prevalence ranging from 4.5% to 16.1%. With respect to incidence per year, it is estimated a range from 146 to 820 per 100,000 inhabitants for DM2 and a range from 10 to 17 new cases annually per 100,000 inhabitants for DM1. Costs for DM1 show very different results, averaging between 1,262 and 3,311 euro per people and year. There are differences for DM2 costs as well, averaging between 381 and 2,560 euro per patient and year. Total costs estimated range from 758 to 4,348 euro per person and year. Relationship between a low socioeconomic level (LSL) and DM2 risk has been proved. Moreover, it has been noted that the less LSL the worse is the disease control, coupled with a greater frequency and more frequent factors of DM2 risk.


The knowledge about the situation of the DM as a Public Health problem in Spain is limited. Mortality data available does not gather its real magnitude, and prevalence, incidence, costs and inequalities research are very poor and hardly comparable. In spite of this degree of incertitude, we can state that DM is an important public health problem with a continuous increase, especially DM2, if the appropriate prevention and control measures are not taken.

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