Facts about diabetes in Denmark

  • The Danish population consists of app. 5.5 million people
  • 252,750 Danes are diagnosed with diabetes. It's 5,7 % of the Danish population and is a doubling in numbers of diabetics in 10 years1
  • The diabetes pandemic will reach 430.000 Danes in 2030
  • 850,000 Danes (17 % of the Danish population) were pre-diabetics in 1999. A pre-diabetic is a person who has a bigger waitstline than 88 centimeters ( females) and 102 centimetes ( males) with diabetes running in his or hers family history. The Danish Diabetes Association estimates that 750,000 Danes were pre-diabetics in 2011. 30-40 % of them will develop Type 2-diabetes within 3,5 years2
  • 60,000 Danes are having diabetes without knowing it3
  • The socio-economical expenses caused by diabetes are app. 86 million Danish kroner per day. 

Diabetes and the Welfare State

When working towards the prevention of Type 2 diabetes, the 300.000 pre-diabetics are our main target group. Never the less, far too many children eat too many french fries and burgers, drink too many energy- and sugar loaded beverages and lead an in-active life in front of the computer with no exercise on a regular basis. This gives them an unfortunate starting point for their adult life, potentially followed by unhealthy lifestyle, obesity and increased risk for type 2 diabetes.

Financial burden to the Danish society

Prevention of Type 2 diabetes is one of the most important matters for our Welfare State. The disease is a big financial burden to the Danish society. The socio-economical expenses of app. 86 million Danish kroner per day on diabetes draw massively on our economics. But it is possible to act. In contrast to Type 1 diabetes, Type 2 diabetes can often be prevented and an active and healthy life style diminishes complications.

However, the problems concerning Type 2 diabetes are extremely complicated.

  • Firstly, an unhealthy life style is often rooted in habits established by family patterns taught in childhood.
  • Secondly, good quality of life for people with Type 2 diabetes is overshadowed by the many taboos attached to the disease. Some get haunted by guilt and shame, because they have been taught that their diagnose is partly self-imposed due to an unhealthy life style, and it is not uncommon for diabetics to develop depressions. Consequently, it is important that the general misconception of Type 2- diabetes in society is changed. A judgmental statement like ”Pull yourself together” is pointless. Shame and guilt anchored in the nature of the disease must be replaced with a broad understanding and forgiveness before the affected diabetic can to come to terms with his or her diagnose and find motivation, which ultimately is the key to a change of life style. We believe that good quality of life is an option for diabetics, and an active and healthy life style will certainly help prevent the progression of the disease.

Persistent scientific research is necessary to cure the disease. Metaphorical speaking we work to cross the finishing line with the prospect of an absolutely cure as the final destination. 

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is a so-called autoimmune disease. This implies that it is the immune system of the body which destroys the cells in the pancreas which produce the vitally important hormone insulin.

T1D is usually diagnosed when the patient is child or adolescent. It is not known what triggers T1D and the disease cannot be prevented or cured.

App. 30.000 Danes have T1D. This represents approximately 10 % of the total group of diabetic patients in Denmark. 

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes (T2D) primarily affects adult persons. Susceptibility to T2D has inheritable components but is often elicited by modifiable risks such as an unhealthy life style including physical inactivity and unhealthy eating habits. T2D is therefore to a certain degree preventable.

245.000 Danes are diagnosed with T2D. This represents approximately 80 % of the total group of diabetic patients in Denmark.

In addition another 60.000 Danes are assumed to have undiagnosed T2D.  


Both patients with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes (T1D and T2D) may develop long term complications, both physical and psychological. The risk increases with the number of years you have had diabetes and is related to how well the disease has been regulated.

How do the complications develop?

The complications are predominantly due to persistent hyperglycemia, but the tendency to develop complications is also partly inheritable.

Can complications be prevented?

Fortunately, you can do a lot yourself to prevent or limit the development of complications. The risk may be considerably reduced by employing a healthy life style and ensuring stable blood sugar, blood pressure and lipid profile.

An untreated or poorly controlled diabetes results in an increased risk of complications. A well-regulated diabetes contributes to prevent or limit complications.

The most common complications

Many patients with T2D already had developed complications at the time of diagnosis. Here is an overview of the most common complications:

  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • Neurological complications
  • Renal complications
  • Food ulcers
  • Ocular complications


1. Numbers on diabetes 1996 -2010, SSI, 2011
2. Glümer, C, Jørgensen T, Borch-Johnsen K: Prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose regulation in the Danish population tolerance to diabetes high-risk screened population: 3 years follow-up in the ADDITION study, Denmark. Diabetologia 2008; 51: 249-257
3. An estimate of the Danish Diabetes, build on reference 3, who states that 60% of Danes with diabetes have no diagnose in 1999. We presume, that the number has decreased since, therefore 245.000.

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