Common Diseases in SwedenSweden is a Scandinavian country located in Northern Europe between Finland and Norway. The country has a population of 9.903 million people. Like any country, there are common diseases in Sweden that affect the population.

1. Cardiovascular Diseases

Ischemic heart disease is the most common form of heart disease in Sweden. The annual mortality rate from the diseases is 241.1 deaths per 100,000 people. A major contributor to ischemic heart diseases and other cardiovascular diseases is diabetes. About 6.9 percent of the population has diabetes. If current rates continue, 10.3 percent of Swedes will have diabetes by 2050. Major risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases include high blood pressure and cholesterol, smoking, stress, lack of exercise, poor eating habits and unhealthy weight. An estimated 31.1 percent of Swedes are physically inactive. Additionally, 59.2 percent are overweight and 22 percent are obese.

2. Respiratory Diseases

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is the most common form of respiratory disease and frequently undiagnosed. About 500,000 people in Sweden have the disease. Every year, about 3,000 people die from COPD. Age is a contributor to the disease as well as smoking. Despite a COPD diagnosis, many people continue to smoke until death. Studies have found that of those who die from COPD, 40 percent of women and 33 percent of men are still smokers.

3. Neoplasms

In 2011, the most common cancer sites in men were prostate (32.2 percent), skin excluding melanoma (10.8 percent), colon (6.9 percent), lung (6.5 percent) and urinary organs (6.5 percent). In women, the most frequent sites are breast (30.3 percent), skin excluding melanoma (9.1 percent), colon (7.6 percent), lung (6.5 percent) and melanoma (5.9 percent). Despite these rates, recent developments have shown that cancer patients living in Sweden are less likely to die of cancer compared to those living in other European countries. Cancer survival rates in Sweden are 64.7 percent. In northern Europe, the rate is 59.6 percent.

4. Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia

In 2012, an estimated 173,135 people in Sweden had dementia, accounting for 1.82 percent of the population. This is higher than the 1.55 percent average in the European Union. Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia contribute to 69.1 deaths per 100,000 people every year. Dementia is more common with increasing age. Rarely are people below 65 diagnosed with dementia.

5. Sexually Transmitted Infections

People in Sweden are more likely to be treated for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia and gonorrhea than in other European countries. A major contributor to this problem is the lack of contraception use. Studies show that 50 percent of young adults in Sweden do not use condoms with new partners and 30 percent do not use any contraception.

Acknowledging and understanding these common diseases in Sweden is important for public health policy efforts in the country.

Francesca Montalto

Photo: Flickr