Usher Institute

Diabetes patients living longer

People with type 2 diabetes in Scotland are surviving for longer, research suggests.

New cases of type 2 diabetes have stabilised in Scotland even though the number of people living with the condition continues to rise, a study has found.

Experts say understanding these trends will be crucial for planning how best to tackle the condition and assigning resources for prevention and treatment. 

New cases

The study team, led by members of the Usher Institute, looked at the number of new cases of type 2 diabetes between 2004 and 2013.

They found that overall, the number of new diagnoses remained stable throughout the duration of the study.

Better diagnosis

Improvements in diagnosis of the condition that occurred in the early 2000s, which reduced the number of undiagnosed cases may have contributed to the stabilising number of new cases.

Living longer

During the same time period, the risk of death due to diabetes dropped slightly for both men and women, suggesting that people are living longer with the disease.

This may partly explain why the total number of people with type 2 diabetes in Scotland continues to rise, the team say.


Researchers say their findings highlight widening inequality in type 2 diabetes cases in Scotland.

The number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes increased in people from the most deprived socioeconomic backgrounds after 2010. The risk of death was also higher in these groups.

Gender gap

Over the time period of the study, more men were diagnosed while the number of new cases among women fell slightly.

New diagnoses increased among men and women aged 45 to 55, whilst cases fell among the over 65s.

Our study highlights major inequalities in type 2 diabetes cases by age, gender and socioeconomic status. Tackling these inequalities will be crucial for improving treatment and management of the condition.

Stephanie ReadCentre for Population Health Sciences, Usher Institute, University of Edinburgh

The study is published in the journal Diabetologia.

The study team included Usher Institute colleagues Sarah Wild, David McAllister and Stephanie Read, along with co-authors, working on behalf of the Scottish Diabetes Research Network Epidemiology Group.

Related links

Journal article

Scottish Diabetes Research Network website