New research released for the launch of Diabetes Week 2016 has found that 235,000 have been diagnosed with the disease in the last year.
Furthermore, Diabetes UK predicts 4,500 people will have been diagnosed with the condition by the end of the week.
The research also found that there is still a lack of understanding surrounding diabetes, with many people not recognising the seriousness of the condition.
A survey of 1,491 adults in Britain found that 53% of people are unaware that poorly managed diabetes can lead to complications such as heart attack and strokes.
One in three people thought it was true that type 1 diabetes, which is unpreventable, was linked to being overweight, the survey said.
About 10% of people with diabetes have type 1, which means they cannot produce insulin.
It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly.
People with type 2 diabetes, meanwhile, don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly.
Onset of type 2 diabetes might stem from family history, age or ethnic background but they are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes if they are overweight.
The charity is concerned that ignorance about the illness could perpetuate false assumptions and cause people to miss symptoms, especially since type 2 diabetes can take up to 10 years to diagnose.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “This Diabetes Week we are setting the record straight and focusing on the realities of living with the condition.
“There is still a lack of understanding when it comes to people being aware of the seriousness of diabetes and this worries us at Diabetes UK.
“There are over four million people living with the condition in the UK. The fact that 4,500 people will discover they have diabetes over the next seven days is deeply concerning, and highlights the current scale of the crisis.”
He added: “Diabetes Week is a time to share our concerns about the scale and seriousness of diabetes, but it is also a fantastic opportunity to highlight that with the right healthcare, support and management, diabetes doesn’t have to hold anyone back.”
High profile supporters are backing the week, including EastEnders star Jonny Labey, who has type 1 diabetes and singer and stage star Alexandra Burke.
Burke’s mother has type 2 diabetes and is on kidney dialysis as a result of her condition.
Burke said: “The biggest misconception I feel people have around type 2 diabetes is that it can just be left and not treated.”
Diabetes is the leading cause of preventable sight loss in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.