Leading health charity Diabetes UK warns that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has risen by more than 167,000 since last year, bringing the total diabetes population to almost 2.5 million according to new data from GP practices. This rise is more than double the 2006–07 increase of 83,000.
In England, a 6.4% increase means the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has broken two million for the first time. In Northern Ireland and Wales, the increase was 6.8% and 6%. Improved recording in Scotland contributed to the biggest rise (16.9%).
Around 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating an unhealthy diet. The figures also show that there are now five million people registered obese in the UK compared to almost 4.8 million last year.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: "These are truly alarming figures. Part of why we have seen such a huge increase can be attributed to improved screening from healthcare services and greater awareness amongst those at high risk of type 2 diabetes. However, there is no getting away from the fact that this large increase is linked to the obesity crisis."
In addition to the 2.5 million people diagnosed with diabetes, more than half a million people have type 2 diabetes in the UK and don't know it. Diabetes UK warns that the condition can go undiagnosed for up to 10 years and 50% of people already have signs of complications by the time they are diagnosed.
Diabetes UK has recently launched its Silent Assassin awareness campaign to highlight the seriousness of the diabetes and improve awareness of its devastating complications to people diagnosed with diabetes, the undiagnosed and those at risk of type 2 diabetes.