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Costs attributable to hypercholesterolemia in a single period and over the life cycle

Reitzinger, Stephanie, Reiss, Miriam and Czypionka, Thomas (2024) Costs attributable to hypercholesterolemia in a single period and over the life cycle. European Journal of Health Economics. ISSN 1618-7598

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Identification Number: 10.1007/s10198-024-01684-0


Hypercholesterolemia is a major risk factor for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease leading to reduced (healthy) life years. The aim of this study is to quantify the societal costs associated with hypercholesterolemia. We use epidemiologic data on the distribution of cholesterol levels as well as data on relative risks regarding ischemic heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. The analytical approach is based on the use of population-attributable fractions applied to direct medical, direct non-medical and indirect costs using data of Austria. Within a life-cycle analysis we sum up the costs of hypercholesterolemia for the population of 2019 and, thus, consider future morbidity and mortality effects on this population. Epidemiologic data suggest that approximately half of Austria’s population have low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels above the target levels (i.e., are exposed to increased risk). We estimate that 8.2% of deaths are attributable to hypercholesterolemia. Total costs amount to about 0.33% of GDP in the single-period view. In the life-cycle perspective, total costs amount to €806.06 million, €312.1 million of which are medical costs, and about €494 million arise due to production loss associated with hypercholesterolemia. The study points out that significant shares of deaths, entries into disability pension and care allowance, full-time equivalents lost to the labor market as well as monetary costs for the health system and the society could be avoided if LDL-C-levels of the population were reduced.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2024 The Author(s)
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
JEL classification: C - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods > C8 - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs > C82 - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I10 - General
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
Date Deposited: 28 Mar 2024 12:12
Last Modified: 23 May 2024 08:03

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