Diabetes is rising in the rich world but the death rate from it is falling due to early detection and better treatment.
Researchers from the University of Southern Denmark carried out an analysis of diabetes in a community of 470,000 people between 1993 and 1999.
While the proportion of people with diabetes increased by around three percent annually during the six-year study, the associated death rate fell three percent each year.
Commenting on the findings published in this week's edition of the medical journal The Lancet, Edwin Gale, diabetes expert at Britain's University of Bristol, warned against complacency.
"Make no mistake, obesity and diabetes are indeed on the increase, a problem big and deadly enough to need no supporting rhetoric," he wrote in the journal.
Diabetes effects some 135 million people worldwide and the number of sufferers has been increasing steadily in the West due in part to a rise in obesity. A healthy diet and regular exercise reduce the risk of getting it.Patients with type II, or adult onset, diabetes produce too little insulin and too much glucose. It can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, disability and death.