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We aimed at estimating the prevalence and at identifying the frequent comorbidities of diabetes mellitus in a region of northeastern Italy from administrative health data.The prevalence was estimated according to two disease definitions, based on administrative health data. Association rule mining was used to detect comorbid diagnoses that coexisted with a diagnosis of diabetes among patients admitted to the regional hospitals.The prevalence of known diabetes in 2010 was 6.0–8.1%, with great variations by age class (from approximately 2% <60 years to more than 20% in some elderly age groups). Of 155,494 patients admitted to the hospital in 2011, 9,358 had a diagnosis of diabetes. A total of 12 rules satisfied our criteria for support (>0.5%) and confidence (>5%), and identified nine frequent isolated comorbidities and three pairs of comorbid diagnoses. The rule with the highest support (2.4%) and confidence (39.5%) identified the combination of diabetes and essential hypertension.Association rule mining was useful, because it showed the complexity of diabetic patients. Clinical management of those patients cannot neglect comorbidities.