The online home for the primary care professionals managing patients with cardiovascular disease, diabetes and related diseases.

Increased numbers with diabetes due to longer survival not increased incidence

Increased numbers with diabetes due to longer survival not increased incidence

Publication date: Thursday, 08 September 2016
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

A Scottish study shows that the overall incidence of type 2 diabetes has stabilised over the past 12 years while mortality has declined. The study authors suggest that the increasing prevalence of the disease, from 3.2% in 2004 to 5.1% in 2013 is due to longer survival of patients and not increasing numbers.

The study obtained data regarding diabetes diagnosis, population estimates, and numbers of deaths each year grouped by age, sex, and deciles of SIMD (Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation) from the Scottish Care Information – Diabetes database and National Records Scotland.

The study found that diabetes incidence rates over the whole study period decreased for older men and women, increased slightly for younger women, and increased for younger men, although the incidence rate for younger men declined after 2009. Whilst incidence declined over all socioeconomic groups the decline was slower in the more deprived groups and from 2010 the incidence in the most deprived groups appeared to increase, which the authors suggest may lead to widening inequality in diabetes incidence. Incidence in men was higher than for women in all age groups. Other European studies have also noted a stabilisation and/or decline in incidence of type 2 diabetes.

Overall, standardised mortality rates declined by 11.5% for men and 15.7% for women during the study period, with similar declines across all ages and deprivation groups. Mortality rates were higher in the most deprived groups compared to the least deprived groups. However mortality rates for people with type 2 diabetes remained 40% and 80% higher, for men and women respectively, than for those without diabetes.

Year Men with T2D Women with T2D
2004 5.10 3.80
2007 4.78 3.22
2010 4.94 3.23
2013 4.88 3.14

Table: Incidence of type 2 diabetes in Scottish population from 2004 to 2013.


Although type 2 diabetes incidence may be stabilising and mortality rates improving over recent years, prevention remains important, particularly among socioeconomically deprived populations. Interventions must be targeted to people most at risk.

Read SH, Kerssens J, McAllister D, et al.

Trends in type 2 diabetes incidence and mortality in Scotland between 2004 and 2013. Diabetologia 2016; DOI 10.1007/s00125-016-4054-9

Topics covered:
Category: Evidence in Practice
Edition: Volume 1 Number 9 PCCJ Online 2016
Contributor(s): Jeremy Bray

Article search and filter