Diabetes cases reach five million

  • Date: 13 April 2023

OVER five million people in the UK are now living with diabetes, according to analysis from Diabetes UK.

The figures show that 4.3 million people have diagnosed diabetes and an estimated 850,000 people have yet to be diagnosed, bringing the overall UK-wide number beyond five million.

Around 90 per cent of diagnoses are of type 2 diabetes, and around 8 per cent are type 1 diabetes, with the other forms of the condition making up the remaining 2 per cent.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes are multiple and complex and include age, family history and ethnicity, as well as being overweight or obese.

Diabetes UK is concerned that the high numbers of people overweight or obese across the UK – currently 64 per cent of adults in England – is translating into an increase in cases of type 2. It highlights social deprivation as a factor, with low income, restricted education, poor housing and access to healthy food, as well as restricted access to healthcare all strongly linked to increased obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is also becoming increasingly common under the age of 40.

Chris Askew OBE, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes is serious, and every diagnosis is life changing. It’s a relentless condition, and the fear of serious complications is a lifelong reality for millions of people across the UK.

“These latest figures show we’re in the grip of a rapidly escalating diabetes crisis, with spiralling numbers of people now living with type 2 diabetes and millions at high risk of developing the condition.

“But it doesn’t have to be this way. With the right care and support, cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or put into remission. What we need to see is the will, grit and determination from government and local health leaders to halt this crisis in its tracks and improve the future health of our nation for generations to come.”

Diabetes UK is calling for a firm commitment to diabetes in the government’s Major Conditions Strategy, including a continued focus on identifying those at high risk of type 2 diabetes and ensuring they are supported to reduce their risk by referral to the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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