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All diabetes

An estimated 1.2 million (6%) Australian adults aged 18 years and over had diabetes in 2014–15, based on self-reported data, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) 2014–15 National Health Survey. This includes people with type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, and type unknown but excludes gestational diabetes.

Information based on self-reported data only is likely to underestimate the prevalence of diabetes as it cannot include people with undiagnosed diabetes. The ABS 2011–12 Australian Health Survey, which included both measured and self-report data showed that for every 4 adults with diagnosed diabetes, there was 1 who was undiagnosed.

Trends

The prevalence of diabetes (based on self-reported data) has tripled between 1989–90 and 2014–15. The proportion of people with diabetes has increased from 1.5% to 4.7%.

Age and sex

In 2014–15, the prevalence of diabetes among adults (based on self-reported data):

  • Was higher for men (7%) than women (5%).
  • Increased rapidly up to age 75, with rates among 65–74 year-olds (17%) 3 times as high as for 45–54 year-olds (5%) and 1.4 times as high as for 55–64 year olds (12%) (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Prevalence of diabetes, among persons aged 18 and over, by age and sex, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that self-reported diabetes prevalence among adults steadily increased with age in 2014–15, with rates highest among those aged 75 years and over (22% for men and 16% for women). From age 55 years, men had higher prevalence rates than women—20% of men aged 65–74 self-reported having diabetes compared to 14% of women of the same age.

Note: Based on self-reported data.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey (NHS), 2014–15 (Data table).

Inequalities

In 2014–15, the prevalence of diabetes (based on self-reported data) among adults was similar by remoteness and varied by socioeconomic disadvantage (Figure 2). Proportions were:

  • Similar between Major cities (6%), Inner regional (7%) and Outer regional and remote areas (7%).
  • Around twice as high in the lowest socioeconomic group (10% and 7% for men and women, respectively) as those in the highest socioeconomic group (4% each for men and women).

Figure 2: Prevalence of diabetes, among persons aged 18 and over, by remoteness and socioeconomic group, 2014–15

The horizontal bar chart shows that in 2014–15 men had higher rates of diabetes across all remoteness areas than women. While diabetes rates were relatively similar across remoteness areas for women, for men rates were considerably higher in outer regional/remote areas compared with other remoteness areas – 8.5%, compared to 6.6% in inner regional and 6.7% in major cities.  Diabetes prevalence increased with socioeconomic disadvantage for both males and females.

Notes 

  1. Based on self-reported data.
  2. Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.
  3. Please see data table for information on remoteness and socioeconomic group classifications.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey (NHS) 2014–15 (Data table).

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Around 1 in 8 (13%) Indigenous Australian adults (46,200 people) had diabetes, based on self-report and measured data from the ABS 2012–13 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Measures Survey. Diabetes was more common in Indigenous females than males (25,900 and 20,300, respectively; or 56% and 44%).

Based on self-reported and measured results, Indigenous Australian adults were almost 4 times as likely to have diabetes as their non-Indigenous counterparts (18% compared with 5%, after adjusting for differences in the age structures between the populations).

Type 1 diabetes

There are currently no national data that capture the prevalence of type 1 diabetes at all ages, but there are estimates for children—over 6,000 children aged 0–14 had type 1 diabetes in 2015, according to the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR).

There were 2,600 new cases (incidence) of type 1 diabetes in Australia in 2015, equating to 12 cases per 100,000 population, according to the NDR.

Trends

There were around 38,900 new cases of type 1 diabetes diagnosed between 2000 and 2015. This was around 2,400 new cases of type 1 diabetes each year—an average of 7 new cases per day.

The incidence of type 1 diabetes remained relatively stable between 2000 and 2015, fluctuating between 11 to 13 new cases per 100,000 population each year.

The incidence rate for 0­–14 year olds remained on average 1.5 times as high as for those aged 15–24 years and 4 times as high as for those aged 25 years and over during this period (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Trends in incidence of type 1 diabetes, by age, 2000–15

The line chart shows that the incidence rate for type 1 diabetes remained relatively stable across all age groups between 2000 and 2015 — 21-27 per 100,000 population for people aged 0–14, 15-18 per 100,000 population for those aged 15–24, and 6-9 per 100,000 population for those aged 25 years and over.

Notes  

  1. Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.
  2. Year of first insulin use is a proxy for year of diagnosis.

Source: AIHW analysis of 2015 National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR) (Data table).

Age and sex

In 2015:

  • The incidence rate of type 1 diabetes was higher in males than females (13 compared with 10 per 100,000 population).
  • Almost 2 in 3 (63%) new cases of type 1 diabetes were among children and young people under 25 years.
  • The peak age group of diagnosis was 10–19 years (29 and 24 per 100,000 for males and females, respectively)─at least 2.4 times the rate at age 30–39 (12 and 6 per 100,000) and at least 12 times the rate for those aged 80 years and over (2 per 100,000 for males and females) (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Incidence of type 1 diabetes, by age at diagnosis and sex, 2015

The vertical bar chart shows that in 2015 the incidence of type 1 diabetes was highest in those aged 10–19 (29 per 100,000 males and 24 per 100,000 females). Rates steadily declined for both males and females from age 20 onwards. Males had generally higher rates than females across all age groups.

Note: Year of first insulin use is a proxy for year of diagnosis.

Source: AIHW analysis of 2015 National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (Data table).

Inequalities

In 2015, the incidence rate of type 1 diabetes was (Figure 5):

  • Lower in Remote and very remote areas compared with other areas of Australia―8 cases per 100,000 population compared with 11–14 per 100,000, respectively.
  • Lower for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people than non-Indigenous Australians—9 and 11 per 100,000, respectively.
  • Similar across all socioeconomic groups.

Figure 5: Incidence of type 1 diabetes, by selected population characteristics, 2015

The horizontal bar chart shows that in 2015 the incidence of type 1 diabetes was lower in Remote and very remote areas than in other remoteness areas ― 8 cases per 100,000 population compared with 11–14 per 100,000 population. Rates across socioeconomic groups were fairly similar. Non-Indigenous Australians had a slightly higher rate of type 1 diabetes compared to Indigenous Australians ― 11 and 9 per 100,000 population, respectively

Notes 

  1. Age-standardised to the 2001 Australian Standard Population.
  2. Please see data table for information on remoteness and socioeconomic group classifications.
  3. Incidence rates of type 1 diabetes may be influenced by the lower capture of Indigenous Australians and people living in Remote and very remote areas on the primary data sources of the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register.

Source: AIHW analysis of 2015 National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (Data table).

Type 2 diabetes

An estimated 1 million Australian adults (5%) had type 2 diabetes in 2014–15, according to self-reported data from the ABS 2014–15 National Health Survey. Proportions were:

  • Similar among men and women (6% and 5%). Age-specific rates for males were higher than females from age 55 years onwards (Figure 6).
  • Relatively similar across Major cities (5%), Inner regional (6%) and Outer regional and Remote areas (6%).
  • Around twice as high in the lowest socioeconomic group (8%) compared with the highest socioeconomic group (3%).

Information based on self-reported data only is likely to underestimate the prevalence of type 2 diabetes as many cases remain unreported, due to survey participants either not knowing or accurately reporting their diabetes status. For further information about self-reported data limitations, see self-report—Glossary.

Figure 6: Prevalence of type 2 diabetes, among persons aged 18 and over, by age and sex, 2014–15

The vertical bar chart shows that the prevalence of self-reported type 2 diabetes among adults increases steadily with age, from 4% to 19% between ages 45–54 and 75 and over for men and 4% to 14% for women, respectively. From age 55 onwards rates were higher among males than females.

Note: Based on self-reported data.

Source: AIHW analysis of ABS Microdata: National Health Survey (NHS) 2014–15 (Data table).

Information on insulin use among people with type 2 diabetes is available from the National (insulin-treated) Diabetes Register (NDR). Around 18,100 people with type 2 diabetes began insulin treatment in 2015, equating to around 76 cases per 100,000 population, or 1 in around 1,300 Australians, according to the NDR:

  • Incidence rates were 1.5 times as high in males as in females (83 compared with 56 per 100,000, respectively).
  • Almost all cases of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes (92%) occurred among those aged 40 years and over, with rates increasing steadily with age to a peak of 255 per 100,000 at age 75–79. This was twice the incidence rate at age 50–54 and 10 times the rate at age 30–34.

Gestational diabetes

According to the NDR, 7,405 women aged 15–49 began using insulin to treat gestational diabetes, representing almost one in four women diagnosed with gestational diabetes in 2015—130 cases per 100,000 Australian women of reproductive age (15–49).

The incidence rate was highest among women aged 30–34 (307 cases per 100,000 women aged 30–34), followed by those aged 35–39 and 25–29 (238 and 194 cases per 100,000 women respectively) (Data table).

For more information, see Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: prevalence and incidence, Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic kidney disease: Australian facts: Indigenous Australians and Incidence of insulin-treated diabetes in Australia 2014.