Skip to main content

24-10-2011 | Diabetes | Article

First national study estimates diabetes prevalence in Spain


Free abstract

MedWire News: The total proportion of the Spanish population that has diabetes is 13.8% and almost half of those are unaware they have the condition, report researchers.

The findings, published in the journal Diabetologia, come from the first national study of diabetes prevalence and impaired glucose regulation (IGR) in Spain, the Study.

"Quantifying the number of people with diabetes is important because it allows for planning and rational judgment of resources," write the investigators.

Led by Federico Soriguer (Hospital Universitario Carlos Haya, Malaga, Spain), the team carried out a population-based, cross-sectional survey using a cluster sampling design to form a sample representative of the entire Spanish population.

The sample included 5072 randomly selected participants, aged 18 years or more, who completed a questionnaire and underwent physical examination and blood glucose testing.

The authors found that almost 30% of the study population had some degree of glucose disturbance.

The percentage of the population who had diabetes, after adjustment for age and gender, was 13.8% and the proportion with previously undiagnosed diabetes was 6.0%.

Impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) were present in 3.5% and 9.2% of the population, respectively, while 2.2% of the participants had combined IFG and IGT.

Multivariate analysis revealed that the presence of diabetes was significantly associated with age, obesity, abdominal obesity, and hypertension, with odds ratios (ORs) of 1.05, 1.70, 2.20, and 2.26, respectively.

Low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high triacylglycerols, and a family history of diabetes were also significantly associated with diabetes, with ORs of 1.54, 1.99, and 2.70, respectively.

Diabetes was also significantly associated with gender and education level, with the condition less likely to occur in women than in men (OR=0.34) and more likely to occur in those with lower levels of education.

"The results will provide our public health authorities with data that should encourage the urgent implementation of clinical and preventive intervention programs to tackle the increasing health and economic burden of diabetes in Spain," write Soriguer and colleagues.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Sally Robertson