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BMC Public Health. 2014 Oct 10;14:1059. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-14-1059.

The prevalence of diabetes-related complications and multimorbidity in the population with type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Basque Country.

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O + berri, Basque Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Torre del BEC (Bilbao Exhibition Centre), Ronda de Azkue 1, 48902 Barakaldo, Spain.



Type 2 diabetes mellitus is associated with a diverse range of pathologies. The aim of the study was to determine the incidence of diabetes-related complications, the prevalence of coexistent chronic conditions and to report multimorbidity in people with type 2 diabetes living in the Basque Country.


Administrative databases, in four cross sections (annually from 2007 to 2011) were consulted to analyse 149,015 individual records from patients aged ≥ 35 years with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The data observed were: age, sex, diabetes-related complications (annual rates of acute myocardial infarction, major amputations and avoidable hospitalisations), diabetes-related pathologies (prevalence of ischaemic heart disease, renal failure, stroke, heart failure, peripheral neuropathy, foot ulcers and diabetic retinopathy) and other unrelated pathologies (44 diseases).


The annual incidence for each condition progressively decreased during the four-year period: acute myocardial infarction (0.47 to 0.40%), major amputations (0.10 to 0.08%), and avoidable hospitalisations (5.85 to 5.5%). The prevalence for diabetes-related chronic pathologies was: ischaemic heart disease (11.5%), renal failure (8.4%), stroke (7.0%), heart failure (4.3%), peripheral neuropathy (1.3%), foot ulcers (2.0%) and diabetic retinopathy (7.2%). The prevalence of multimorbidity was 90.4%. The highest prevalence for other chronic conditions was 73.7% for hypertension, 13.8% for dyspepsia and 12.7% for anxiety.


In the type 2 diabetes mellitus population living in the Basque Country, incidence rates of diabetes complications are not as high as in other places. However, they present a high prevalence of diabetes related and unrelated diseases. Multimorbidity is very common in this group, and is a factor to be taken into account to ensure correct clinical management.

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