Insulin-treated type 2 diabetes incidence

Type 2 diabetes is a progressive condition that occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, or insulin production is inadequate. The cause is unknown, but it is believed to be an interaction of genetic and environmental factors.

Type 2 diabetes tends to develop over a long period of time, and generally has onset later in life. When blood glucose levels can no longer be maintained at optimum levels through diet, exercise and other medications, insulin replacement might be required. Some people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes need insulin replacement from diagnosis.

Change in method for insulin-treated type 2 diabetes

The method used to calculate the incidence rates of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes has changed in recent years.

In reports before 2019, incidence rates of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes were calculated based on the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimated resident population.

For this web update, incidence rates were calculated based on the population including all people with type 2 diabetes who have never used insulin, and are registered with the National Diabetes Services Scheme.

This change means that results presented in this report and cannot be compared with earlier publications or results based on earlier NDR data.

As the NDR potentially underestimates the number of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander registrants with diabetes, the incidence of insulin-treated type 2 diabetes based on the prevalent type 2 diabetes population by Indigenous status has not been reported. This is an important data gap for future development. For more information, see the Methods and classifications.

In 2018:

  • about 17,000 people began using insulin to manage their type 2 diabetes—4,200 cases per 100,000, or about 1 in every 24 registrants with type 2 diabetes not previously using insulin
  • the incidence rate was 1.7 times higher in females (5,400 per 100,000) than in males (3,200 per 100,000)
  • incidence rates for insulin-treated type 2 diabetes were twice as high among those living in Major cities (4,300 cases per 100,000 registrants with type 2 diabetes not previously using insulin) as those in the Remote and very remote areas (2,000 cases per 100,000)—rates in Remote and very remote areas might be influenced by the potentially lower capture on the NDR of people living in these areas (see Methods and classifications)
  • incidence rates across socioeconomic areas varied, at 4,000–4,500 per 100,000 type 2 diabetes registrants.

Small geographic areas

Over the five year period 2014–2018, incidence rates for insulin-treated type 2 diabetes were:

  • highest (5,400–6,000 per 100,000 NDR registrants with type 2 diabetes not previously using insulin) in the Primary Health Network (PHN) areas of:
    • Western Queensland (Queensland)
    • Hunter New England (New South Wales)
    • Central Coast (New South Wales)
    • Darling Downs (Queensland)
    • West Moreton (Queensland)
    • Tasmania
  • lowest incidence in the PHN areas of Northern Territory (2,100 cases per 100,000 NDR registrants with type 2 diabetes not previously using insulin), Country Western Australia (3,700), and Perth North (Western Australia) (3,900).
  • highest in the smaller geographical areas (statistical area level 3; SA3) of Botany (New South Wales) (8,100 cases per 100,000 NDR registrants with type 2 diabetes not previously using insulin), Port Stephens (New South Wales) (8,400) and Huon–Bruny Island (Tasmania) (9,600)
  • lowest in the Northern Territory SA3 of Daly-Tiwi West Arnhem (965 cases per 100,000 NDR registrants with type 2 diabetes not previously using insulin) and Katherine (412).

The coverage of the National Diabetes Services Scheme may be lower in SA3 areas with remote communities or communities with large Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations. This might influence estimates on the number of people with insulin-treated diabetes in these areas on the NDR. For more information, see Methods and classifications.

Visualisation not available for printing

To explore the insulin-treated type 2 diabetes data by trends and demographics, see data visualisation ‘Insulin-treated type 2 diabetes

To explore insulin-treated type 2 diabetes data by geographic areas, see data visualisation ‘Insulin-treated type 2 diabetes: geographical areas’.