UK in ‘rapidly escalating crisis’ as diabetes cases top five million for first time
Diabetes UK warned there are “spiralling numbers” of people living with type 2 diabetes and 2.4 million people are at risk of developing the “relentless” condition
and live on Freeview channel 276
The UK is in a “rapidly escalating diabetes crisis” as the number of cases has topped five million for the first time.
Diabetes UK said there are “spiralling numbers” of people now living with type 2 diabetes across the country and there are “millions at high risk” of developing the condition.
The charity said almost 4.3 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes and an estimated 850,000 are living with the condition but have not yet been formally diagnosed.
The figures come amid rising obesity levels, with around 64% of adults in England overweight or obese, which the charity says is resulting in a surge in type 2 diabetes cases.
Type 2 diabetes is often linked to being overweight or inactive - and around nine in 10 cases of diabetes are type 2. The charity estimates that more than 2.4 million people are at high risk of developing this particular type of diabetes in the UK.
The condition causes the level of sugar in the blood to become too high and is becoming increasingly common among those under the age of four, and in areas where there are higher levels of deprivation, the charity said.
It added that the risk factors of type 2 diabetes are “multiple and complex” and include age, family history, ethnicity, as well as being overweight or obese.
‘A relentless condition’
The charity is calling on the government to make diabetes “central” to its forthcoming major conditions strategy to help prevent cases and support people at high risk of disease.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes is serious, and every diagnosis is life changing. It’s a relentless condition, and the fear of serious complications is a lifelong reality for millions of people across the UK.
“These latest figures show we’re in the grip of a rapidly escalating diabetes crisis, with spiralling numbers of people now living with type 2 diabetes and millions at high risk of developing the condition.”
He added: “But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right care and support, cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or put into remission.
“What we need to see is the will, grit and determination from government and local health leaders to halt this crisis in its tracks and improve the future health of our nation for generations to come.”
Without proper care and support, people with diabetes can suffer serious side effects including sight loss, amputations, strokes, heart attacks and heart failure.
The charity encourages people to be aware of the signs and symptoms of diabetes including, needing to urinate a lot, being thirsty, fatigue and losing weight without trying.
The public is also urged to use the Diabetes UK’s free, online Know Your Risk tool on the charity’s website.
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, the largest programme of its kind in the world, has helped over 18,000 people avoid type 2 diabetes through expert advice on healthy eating and exercise.
“As previously announced, our Major Conditions Strategy will cover type 2 diabetes and help to reduce pressure on the NHS, and we’re helping people make healthier choices by restricting the location of foods high in fat, salt or sugar and introducing calorie labelling on menus.”