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Prevalence of diabetes mellitus in the Netherlands more than doubled in the period 1999-2014

Objective: To study the trend in the prevalence of diabetes in the Netherlands during the period 1999-2014.

Design: Descriptive study of prevalence.

Methods: The prevalence of diabetes during the period 1999-2014 was calculated on the basis of data from the PHARMO Database Network, a network of electronic databases that includes data from public pharmacies for 3.8 million residents of the Netherlands. A person with diabetes was defined as someone with at least two dispensings for a glucose lowering-drug within six months. Prevalence was adjusted for variation in age demographics per sex to investigate the influence of these variations on population demographics.

Results: The prevalence of diabetes in the Netherlands increased from 1.8% in 1999 to 4.9% in 2014. The increase was more pronounced among men and among persons older than 74 years. Among males 75-84 years of age the prevalence increased from 7.6% in 1999 to 16.5% in 2014. Among females 74-84 years of age this increase was from 8.7% to 16.8%.  Only half of the increase was explained by changes in age demographics per sex.

Conclusion: The study showed that the prevalence of diabetes more than doubled during the period 1999-2014. This trend can only be partly explained by changes in age demographics per sex.

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