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Diabetes warning amid rise in cases

More people than ever are being diagnosed with diabetes - one every three minutes - according to the charity Diabetes UK.

Most cases are type 2, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles, including obesity, and the charity is seeking urgent action to raise awareness of this potentially fatal condition.

Diabetes can lead to long-term complications, such as heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure, and short-term complications such as hypoglycaemic attacks.

Official figures show that at least 150,000 - and possibly 180,000 - people contracted diabetes in 2008, compared with 100,000 the previous year.

There are currently 2.5 million people in the UK with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, while an estimated half a million people may have type 2 without realising it.

Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: "This week 75 years ago, Diabetes UK was created and although we continue to work tirelessly to improve people's health, diabetes remains one of the biggest health challenges of our time.

"We must protect the health of the nation by taking urgent steps to further raise awareness of diabetes and its complications."

Copyright © Press Association 2009

Diabetes UK

We asked if you think more should be done to raise awareness of diabetes. Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"Yes, particularly amongst the African and Afro-Caribbean communities where, I believe, there is still a degree of complacency." - Ela

"Yes. People with a family history of diabetes should have their blood glucose tested at least once yearly." - Jemma Joseph-Crosby, London

"I think more awareness could be taken into schools." - Polly Gardiner, Northampton

"I agree, there should be more done to raise the awareness of diabetes, I do believe one of the main causes of diabetes is the foods we eat. The US government must hold the food companies accountable for the poisonous chemicals or preservatives that they put in our foods, which is the main cause for different types of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, bone disease, and the list goes on and on. The FDA and the US government need to be honest with the US citizens and the citizens need to be aware of the poisonous foods they eat on a daily basis." - Robert Dixon, USA