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Please click on image to access IPH’s Diabetes briefing that was published in August 2012
IPH published updated research which suggests that by 2020 the number of adults with diabetes from the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland is expected to increase by between 20 and 30%. Approximately one-third of cases were found to be undiagnosed in RoI in 2010.


Please click on links below to access the presentations.

Ivan Perry

Diarmuid Quinlan

Anna Clarke

Lorraine Fahy

What is diabetes?

Diabetes mellitus is a group of metabolic disorders characterised by too much glucose in the blood. The body breaks down digested food into a sugar called glucose from which it derives energy. The hormone insulin allows the body to use that sugar by helping glucose to enter the cells. When a person has diabetes, either the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin or the body cannot properly use the insulin it has. As a result there is a build-up of glucose in the blood causing the cells to be starved of energy. 

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is characterised by a lack of insulin production and occurs most frequently in children; Type 2 diabetes is the most common form in persons aged over 40 but cases are starting to emerge at younger ages, and is caused by the body’s ineffective use of insulin.  

IPH has systematically estimated and forecast the prevalence of diabetes on the island of Ireland



Age, family history, ethnicity, obesity, low physical activity levels and certain medical conditions put you at greater risk of developing diabetes. Eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight and being physically active all decrease your risk. 

The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Burden of Disease study provides estimates of premature mortality and time lived in ill health due to diabetes. Diabetes mellitus (ICD 10 codes E10-E14) is estimated to be responsible for 2.0% of premature mortality and 3.1% of years lived with disability in Europe. WHO estimates that diabetes mellitus (ICD 10 codes E10-E14) is the ninth leading cause of death worldwide.

Diabetes mellitus (ICD 10 codes E10-E14) was responsible for 1.7% of all deaths in the Republic of Ireland in 2008 and 1.4% of all deaths in Northern Ireland in 2010. 



In the Republic of Ireland, key strategies make recommendations to tackle obesity and prevent obesity-related conditions such as diabetes as well as promoting awareness of diabetes and its symptoms. The provision of an integrated model of care for people with diabetes is a key initiative of the Health Service Executive (HSE). The HSE’s national clinical programme for diabetes defines the way diabetic clinical services should be delivered, resourced and measured. One of the key priorities is the establishment of a National Diabetic Retinopathy Screening Programme scheduled to be available nationwide in late 2012.

Key focuses in Northern Ireland include reducing the number of people with diabetes and ensuring appropriate and integrated care for those with diabetes. The Service Framework for Cardiovascular Health and Wellbeing sets out standards in relation to diabetes including accurate diagnosis, education and support as well as access to at least one annual review to a defined standard by an appropriately trained multidisciplinary team. It also recognises diabetes as a significant risk factor for the development of cardiovascular disease.


IPH diabetes estimates and forecasts

IPH has estimated and forecast clinical diagnosis rates of diabetes among adults for the years 2010, 2015 and 2020.

In the Republic of Ireland, the data are based on the Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition (SLÁN) 2007. The data describe the number of people who report that they have experienced doctor-diagnosed diabetes in the previous 12 months (annual clinical diagnosis).

Note that an adjustment was made for diabetes medication use recorded in the SLÁN physical examination sub-group of 45+ year olds.  Data are available by age and sex for each Local Health Office of the Health Service Executive (HSE) in the Republic of Ireland.

In Northern Ireland, the data is based on the Health and Social Wellbeing Survey 2005/06 . The data describe the number of people who report that they have experienced doctor-diagnosed diabetes at any time in the past (lifetime clinical diagnosis). Data are available by age and sex for each Local Government District in Northern Ireland.

Clinical diagnosis rates in the Republic of Ireland relate to the previous 12 months and are not directly comparable with clinical diagnosis rates in Northern Ireland which relate to anytime in the past.

Click here for details of the methods used to calculate the estimates and forecasts

Use the Health Well's Data Visualiser to explore or download the data (last updated August 2012)

View the diabetes theme on the Health Well's Community Profiles.  

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