European report shows the health, economic impact of digestive diseases

Digestive diseases affect more than 300 million people in Europe and are associated with high economic costs. According to the information Published in United European Journal of Gastroenterology (UEG). And presented at UEG Week 2022.

As stated in the report, since 2000, the prevalence of digestive system diseases has reached an alarming level. Chronic liver diseasePancreatitis, gastric ulcer, gastric ulcer, celiac disease and celiac disease in children.

In the year Between 2000 and 2019, the incidence and mortality rates for all digestive cancers increased by 26% and 17%, respectively.

In most European countries, an increase in the incidence and mortality of liver and pancreatic cancer has been observed. The authors identified alcohol consumption, obesity, and other modifiable lifestyle factors as contributing to the overall burden of these conditions.

The incidence of colorectal cancer in young adults has also increased, indicating an area of ​​concern.

They found that the burden of digestive diseases, as measured by disability-adjusted life years (DALYs), was generally higher in Central and Eastern European countries compared to Western and Southern European countries. This is especially true in chronic liver disease, pancreatitis, gastritis, duodenitis, vascular bowel disease, and peptic ulcer disease.

Of the UEG member countries, Egypt had the highest age-adjusted DALY for digestive disease, which accounts for the country’s high burden of liver disease due to viral hepatitis.

The authors of the study, on behalf of the UEG, noted upward trends in the burden of digestive disease due to high body mass index (BMI) across Europe and that alcohol consumption was a major contributor to the burden of disease.

“One of the positive news that can come out of the study is the reduction in the health burden associated with smoking in all European countries following national intervention strategies,” he said.

He also pointed out that socio-economic differences in population size between countries explain many of the differences in digestive problems. As measured by the Human Development Index, countries with many problems are found to have a higher burden than most of the digestive diseases.

Regarding the economic burden, the report shows that the average cost of inpatient healthcare delivery for digestive diseases – including treatment and diagnostic procedures – as a percentage of GDP is 0.12% of the 31 UEG member countries included in the report.

According to the authors, this represents a cost of around $20 billion across Europe by 2021.

In addition, if digestive disease-related premature deaths can be reduced by 25% in 31 countries, the estimated savings from preventing productivity losses will increase to approximately €22.8 billion in 2019 from €11.4 billion. billion and €34.2 billion for a 50% and 75% reduction, respectively.

“The health, economic, and social burden of digestive disorders is increasing at an alarming rate,” said UEG President Helena Cortez-Pinto, MD, PhD. “Our health care systems and economies are already under strain and urgent action is needed to address these burdens through public education, lifestyle choices and research to reverse these alarming trends.”

This report also includes an analysis of the Horizon 2020 project, the European Union’s (EU) research and innovation funding program between 2014 and 2020, to understand how digestive disease research is funded and compare funding methods to other scenarios.

Among other findings, the authors found that inflammatory bowel disease, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic hepatitis B and celiac disease received the most funding. However, research for most types of digestive disease is underfunded in relation to the burden compared to other non-digestive diseases.

According to the authors, these areas of low funding and research, despite being classified as high priority, may reflect important research gaps for further analysis.

“Digestive diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome, pancreatitis and alcohol-related liver disease, which are under-represented in Horizon 2020 research funding, have been identified as priority areas by national societies,” the authors write. “Furthermore, immunology research appears to be understudied, but is considered an important area to prioritize and may represent a promising avenue for development.”

The authors suggest these findings can be used to accelerate progress in reducing the burden of digestive diseases and to identify and prioritize underfunded and underdiagnosed digestive diseases despite high pressure.


Rose TC, Pennington A, Kypridemos C, et al. Analysis of the Burden and Economic Impact of Digestive Diseases and Research Gaps and Priorities in the Digestive Health Field in the European Region-White Paper 2: Executive Summary. United European J Gastroenterol. 2022;10(7):657-662. doi: 10.1002/ueg2.12298

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