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Diabetes risk

Bottom line


The risk of death with diabetes rises very significantly with age. In a 20 year old, it is about 1 in 200,000. In a 60 year old it is about 1 in 10,000. In an 80 year old it is 1 in 1000.


Background

Diabetes is a common disorder that affects many people, younger and older. This brief look at the risk looks at the chance of developing diabetes, and at the chance of dying with diabetes. Of course, it is all more complicated that, with things that people can do to prevent maturity onset diabetes, and related to the complications that follow diabetes and how better control can help ameliorate those problems. For our purposes at the moment, we just look at some of the numbers available.

Data sources

What the sources tell us

The sources provide a wealth of information on incidence, prevalence, and mortality statistics, by age group and by sex.

Give us the odds


1: Chance of developing type 1 diabetes

Using Australian data, the highest risk occurs in the 10-14 age group, where 1 in 3,500 children are affected each year. After age 40, the rate falls to 1 in 20,000 in any one year.

Figure 1: Chance of type 1 diabetes in any one year by age

2: Prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes by age

Of course, the number of people in the population who have diabetes will be many more than this. Data from the UK shows how the total number of people with diabetes is dominated by those with type 2 diabetes from the middle years onwards. The main reason for this is that diabetes developing because of poor lifestyle and being overweight in older people is much more likely than that developing spontaneously in younger people.

Figure 2: Prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes by age

3: Risk of death because of diabetes by age

Data from the UK give some idea of the risk of dying in any one year (this was 2006) with cause of death given as diabetes. The data in Figure 3 show numbers for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, but the most numerous group was unspecified.

The risk rises very significantly with age. In a 20 year old, it is about 1 in 200,000. In a 60 year old it is about 1 in 10,000. In an 80 year old it is 1 in 1000. These risks are shown in Figure 4.

Figure 3: Risk of death because of diabetes by age

Figure 4: Annual risk of death from diabetes

Risk Communication Tool (c) John Paling 2000 (www.riskcomm.com)

 

Comment

Diabetes has major consequences for individuals and society. For many people, type 2 diabetes is partially avoidable, by having a healthy lifestyle.