Diabetes in UK increases 74% over six years
24 February 2009
The numbers of new cases of diabetes in the UK rose 74% between 1997
and 2003, according to research published online in the Journal of
Epidemiology and Community Health.
The findings suggest that rates of diabetes are increasing at a
faster rate in the UK than they are in North America, where prevalence
of the disease is one of the highest in the world.
The figures are based on new and existing cases of Type 1 and Type 2
diabetes among the UK general population, details of which were entered
into the Health Improvement Network database between 1996 and 2005. This
database currently contains almost 5 million medical records, supplied
by over 300 general practices.
Over the decade, the details of 49,999 people who already had
diabetes, and those of more than 42,642, who were newly diagnosed with
the disease, were added. All the data refer to patients between the ages
of 10 and 79 years.
Of those newly diagnosed, just over 1,250 had type 1 (insulin
dependent and inherited) disease, and more than 41,000 had type 2
(non-insulin dependent and acquired) disease.
The overall prevalence of diabetes increased from 2.8% of the
population in 1996 to 4.3% in 2005. This equates to an annual rise of
just under 5% and a 54% increase over the decade. The prevalence of the
disease was 29% higher among men than among women.
While the numbers of new cases of Type 1 diabetes remained fairly
constant over the decade, the numbers of new cases of Type 2 diabetes
did not. These shot up from 2.60 to 4.31 cases per 1000 patient years,
equivalent to an increase of 69% over the decade.
The rise in obesity has had a significant role. In 1996 38% of people
newly diagnosed with Type 2 disease were overweight and 46% were obese;
in 2005, the corresponding proportions were 32% and 56%, respectively.
Not only have the numbers of new cases of diabetes been steadily
rising, but they have been rising much more rapidly in recent years,
increasing by 74% between 1997 and 2003 alone. “Our results suggest
that, although the incidence of diabetes remains lower in the UK than in
the USA or Canada, it appears to be increasing at a faster pace,” the
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