, Volume 51, Issue 12, pp 2187-2196

First online:

The Danish National Diabetes Register: trends in incidence, prevalence and mortality

  • B. CarstensenAffiliated withSteno Diabetes Center Email author 
  • , J. K. KristensenAffiliated withDepartment of General Practice, University of Aarhus
  • , P. OttosenAffiliated withNational Board of Health
  • , K. Borch-JohnsenAffiliated withSteno Diabetes Center
  • , on behalf of the steering group of the National Diabetes Register



The aim of the study was to describe trends in the incidence rate, prevalence and mortality rate for diabetes in Denmark.


Healthcare registers at the National Board of Health were used to compile a register of diabetic patients in the Danish population (5.4 million people). Age- and sex-specific prevalence, incidence rates, mortality rates and standardised mortality ratios relative to the non-diabetic part of the population were calculated.


The register contains records for about 360,000 persons with diabetes; 230,000 were alive at 1 January 2007, corresponding to an overall prevalence of 4.2%. The prevalence increased by 6% per year. In 2004 the incidence rates were 1.8 per 100,000 at age 40 years and 10.0 per 100,000 at age 70 years. The incidence rate increased 5% per year before 2004 and then stabilised. The mortality rate in the diabetic population decreased 4% per year, compared with 2% per year in the non-diabetic part of the population. The mortality rate decreased 40% during the first 3 years after inclusion in the register. The standardised mortality ratio decreased with age, from 4.0 at age 50 years to 2.5 at age 70 years and just under 2 at age 85 years, identically for men and women. The standardised mortality ratio decreased 1% per calendar year. The lifetime risk of diabetes was 30%.


The prevalence of diabetes in Denmark rose in 1995–2006, but the mortality rate in diabetic patients decreased faster than that of the non-diabetic population. The mortality rate decreased markedly just after inclusion in the register. Incidence rates have shown a tendency to decrease during the last few years, but this finding should be viewed with caution.


Demography of diabetes Epidemiology Incidence Lifetime risk Mortality Prevalence Relative mortality Registers SMR