The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has increased by nearly 130,000 to 2.9 million in the past year, warns leading health charity Diabetes UK today. This is nearly a 50% rise since GPs first published diabetes data in 2005 (2m).
The rise is mainly in cases of type 2 diabetes which accounts for around 90% of all diagnoses. Whilst type 2 diabetes commonly develops in people who are overweight, Diabetes UK is urging people to be aware of the other risk factors associated with the condition which include having a large waist, being aged over 40, having a family history of the condition, or being from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities.
Barbara Young, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: “The rate of increase of diabetes is growing with huge human cost and cost to the NHS. The time for action is now. Whilst rates of other serious conditions including many cancers, heart disease and stroke are steady or declining, the epidemic of diabetes continues to grow at even faster rates.
“Simple things can make a huge impact. The vascular screening NHS Health Checks is critical in detecting early signs of type 2 diabetes. Losing 10% of your weight reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 50%. Check your risk level online at www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore
“We must reverse this trend if more people are not going to suffer unnecessarily and if diabetes is not going to bankrupt the NHS. Around 10 per cent of NHS spending goes on diabetes and its complications; this equates to £9bn per year or £1 million an hour.”
Diabetes UK is encouraging people to go online and take its new Diabetes Risk Score test (www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore) to find out about their risk of developing type 2 diabetes. People at increased risk of type 2 diabetes can often decrease or even reverse their risk by losing weight, increasing their physical activity levels and improving their diet.