There are plenty of headlines warning about the rise in type 2 diabetes around the world. While this is a major cause for concern, new research suggests the reason why rates are going up is because people are living longer.
Indeed, the research carried out at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland suggests that the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes has stabilised in recent years and more importantly, mortality rates have also fallen.
According to the study, mortality rates in Scotland have declined by 11.5% for men and 15.7% for women since 2004, but remain higher in poorer areas. 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 rates declined for all socioeconomic groups, it was slower in poorer communities and actually appeared to increase starting in 2010. The authors suggest this may lead to widening inequality in diabetes incidence. Meanwhile, incidence in men was higher than for women in all age groups.
Previous research has found type 2 diabetes affects around 415 million adults around the world. Experts predict that figure to rise to 643 million by 2040, mostly in low and middle-income countries.
The researchers say it’s important to understand these trends as new approaches in prevention and treatment are planned, and interventions ought to be targeted to people at the highest risk. They also pointed out that despite improved mortality rates, type 2 diabetes still carried an excess risk of death compared with people who do not have diabetes.
The researchers recommend further studies to identify the relative contributions of better treatment and better survival rates for people with type 2 diabetes.
‘Despite improved mortality rates, type 2 diabetes confers an excess risk of death compared with the non-diabetic population. There is still scope to address the increased mortality associated with diabetes,’ the report says.
‘Major inequalities by age, sex and socioeconomic status in type 2 diabetes incidence and mortality indicate that effective approaches to treatment and control will need to address existing inequalities.’
The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.