Background: To estimate the incidence and prevalence of type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the UK general population from 1996 to 2005.
Methods: Using The Health Improvement Network database, patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes were identified who were 10–79 years old between 1996 and 2005. Prevalent cases (n = 49 999) were separated from incident cases (n = 42 642; type 1 = 1256, type 2 = 41 386). Data were collected on treatment patterns in incident cases, and on body mass index in prevalent and incident cases.
Results: Diabetes prevalence increased from 2.8% in 1996 to 4.3% in 2005. The incidence of diabetes in the UK increased from 2.71 (2.58–2.85)/1000 person-years in 1996 to 4.42 (4.32–4.53)/1000 person-years in 2005. The incidence of type 1 diabetes remained relatively constant throughout the study period; however, the incidence of type 2 diabetes increased from 2.60 (2.47–2.74)/1000 person-years in 1996 to 4.31 (4.21–4.42)/1000 person-years in 2005. Between 1996 and 2005, the proportion of individuals newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes who were obese increased from 46% to 56%. Treatment with metformin increased across the study period, while treatment with sulphonylureas decreased.
Conclusions: The prevalence and incidence of type 2 diabetes have increased in the UK over the past decade. This might be primarily explained by the changes in obesity prevalence. Also, there was a change in drug treatment pattern from sulphonylureas to metformin.
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