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1.  Use of health care services and pharmaceutical agents in coeliac disease: a prospective nationwide study 
BMC Gastroenterology  2012;12:136.
Approximately 1% of the population suffer from coeliac disease. However, the disease is heavily underdiagnosed. Unexplained symptoms may lead to incremented medical consultations and productivity losses. The aim here was to estimate the possible concealed burden of untreated coeliac disease and the effects of a gluten-free diet.
A nationwide cohort of 700 newly detected adult coeliac patients were prospectively evaluated. Health care service use and sickness absence from work during the year before diagnosis were compared with those in the general population; the data obtained from an earlier study. Additionally, the effect of one year on dietary treatment on the aforementioned parameters and on consumption of pharmaceutical agents was assessed.
Untreated coeliac patients used primary health care services more frequently than the general population. On a gluten-free diet, visits to primary care decreased significantly from a mean 3.6 to 2.3. The consumption of medicines for dyspepsia (from 3.7 to 2.4 pills/month) and painkillers (6.8-5.5 pills/month) and the number of antibiotic courses (0.6-0.5 prescriptions/year) was reduced. There were no changes in hospitalizations, outpatient visits to secondary and tertiary care, use of other medical services, or sickness absence, but the consumption of nutritional supplements increased on treatment.
Coeliac disease was associated with excessive health care service use and consumption of drugs before diagnosis. Dietary treatment resulted in a diminished burden to the health care system and lower use of on-demand medicines and antibiotic treatment. The results support an augmented diagnostic approach to reduce underdiagnosis of coeliac disease.
Trial registration NCT01145287
PMCID: PMC3503835  PMID: 23016889
Coeliac disease; Gluten-free diet; Burden of illness; Health care service use; Sickness absence
2.  Dementia as a determinant of social and health service use in the last two years of life 1996-2003 
BMC Geriatrics  2011;11:14.
Dementia is one of the most common causes of death among old people in Finland and other countries with high life expectancies. Dementing illnesses are the most important disease group behind the need for long-term care and therefore place a considerable burden on the health and social care system. The aim of this study was to assess the effects of dementia and year of death (1998-2003) on health and social service use in the last two years of life among old people.
The data were derived from multiple national registers in Finland and comprise all those who died in 1998, 2002 or 2003 and 40% of those who died in 1999-2001 at the age of 70 or over (n = 145 944). We studied the use of hospitals, long-term care and home care in the last two years of life. Statistics were performed using binary logistic regression analyses and negative binomial regression analyses, adjusting for age, gender and comorbidity.
The proportion of study participants with a dementia diagnosis was 23.5%. People with dementia diagnosis used long-term care more often (OR 9.30, 95% CI 8.60, 10.06) but hospital (OR 0.33, 95% CI 0.31, 0.35) and home care (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.46, 0.54) less often than people without dementia. The likelihood of using university hospital and long-term care increased during the eight-year study period, while the number of days spent in university and general hospital among the users decreased. Differences in service use between people with and without dementia decreased during the study period.
Old people with dementia used long-term care to a much greater extent and hospital and home care to a lesser extent than those without dementia. This difference persisted even when controlling for age, gender and comorbidity. It is important that greater attention is paid to ensuring that old people with dementia have equitable access to care.
PMCID: PMC3086865  PMID: 21470395

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