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Number with diabetes in UK tops 5 million

There are a record number of people living with diabetes in the UK, according to new data released by Diabetes UK.

Following analysis of data from the four home countries, Diabetes UK has estimated that, for the first time, over 5 million people in the UK have diabetes. The charity describes a “rapidly escalating diabetes crisis” and warns that millions more are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Of the 4.3 million people now living with a diagnosis of diabetes, around 90% of cases are of type 2 diabetes. About 8% are type 1 diabetes, while other types of the condition make up the remaining 2%. With an estimated 850,000 living with diabetes but without a diagnosis, the overall figure for the UK is over 5 million.

Diagnoses are up by 148,951 for 2021–22, compared to the previous period, with more than 2.4 million at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The high prevalence of overweight and obesity in the UK – currently 64% of adults in England – is driving the increase, and there is concern over the acceleration of the increase in the under-40s. Other risk factors for type 2 diabetes include age, family history, ethnicity and social deprivation.

Diabetes UK has called for the Government and local health leaders to address this public health emergency by putting the right care and support in place. It states that there should be a continued focus on identifying those at risk and on referring them to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, so that more cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or put into remission. It also argues that the Government needs to push ahead with its obesity strategy measures, such as those to stop people being pushed towards unhealthy food options.

The report concludes with a reminder that personal risk of developing type 2 diabetes can be understood by using their free online Know Your Risk tool.

The piece from Diabetes UK can be read here.

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