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Costs of diabetes complications: hospital-based care and absence from work for 392,200 people with type 2 diabetes and matched control participants in Sweden – published online 24/09/2020

Emelie Andersson, Sofie Persson, Nino Hallén, Åsa Ericsson, Desirée Thielke, Peter Lindgren, Katarina Steen Carlsson, Johan Jendle

The medical consequences of the complications of type 2 diabetes are well known. There is less evidence, however, on the impact of individual diabetic complications on the overall societal burden, including its impact on work life. In this issue, Andersson, Persson et al (https://doi.org/10.1007/s00125-020-05277-3) analysed the costs of hospital-based care and work absence related to individual macrovascular and microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes. The authors used individual-level data from 1997–2016 in a nationwide study of 392,200 people with type 2 diabetes in Sweden. Costs directly attributed to complications were derived by comparison with control participants from the general population who were matched for year of birth, sex and region of residence in the index year. High costs of hospital-based care were directly attributed to diabetes complications, but costs of work absence were found to be almost twice as high per person using regression analyses. Key drivers of costs were the macrovascular complications angina pectoris, heart failure and stroke, and the microvascular complications eye disease, kidney disease and neuropathy. The authors conclude that these findings highlight the need to consider outcomes beyond health when developing treatments for type 2 diabetes, as well as health policy.

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