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Almost 3.5m UK adults 'now have diabetes'

18 November 2015 12:48

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity

Type 2 diabetes is linked to obesity

The last decade has seen the number of diagnosed diabetics in the UK soar to nearly 3.5 million, new figures reveal.

The news comes as the British Heart Foundation (BHF) announces it is pouring over £3 million into researching the link between diabetes and heart disease. The money will also boost research into new treatments.

The condition can be covered among holidaymakers by a diabetes travel insurance policy.

The charity says its analysis of data provided by GPs shows the total has rocketed by over 65% in the last 10 years.

It adds that the number of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes has shot up by 3.5% in the last year alone.

A decade ago, just two million people were diagnosed with diabetes, the total having risen to 3.3 million by last year.

The charity is warning that hundreds of thousands more have diabetes but have not had it diagnosed, meaning that up to four million adults could now be living with it in Britain.

Experts say having Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and unhealthy lifestyles, can double the chances of someone having a heart attack.

The charity says it is spending the money to research the link further and come up with therapies that could help prevent people with the condition having a heart attack or stroke.

Studies funded by the BHF are examining the way blood vessels work in people with diabetes, something it is hoped will pave the way for new treatments being developed.

The charity's medical director, Professor Peter Weissberg, says the research is aiming to show how the condition affects blood vessels and brings on cardiovascular disease.

By doing that, he adds, it is hoped to develop new medicines that can prevent or reverse the process.

One of the researchers, Dr Richard Cubbon, of the University of Leeds, says it is not currently possible to reverse the damage caused to the body's blood vessels by diabetes.

But he and his colleagues hope their study could result in new medicines being developed to prevent and even reverse the damage.