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Diabetes cases 'top 3m mark'

19 August 2015 09:37

Well over three million people have been diagnosed with diabetes

Well over three million people have been diagnosed with diabetes

The last decade has seen the number of people living with diabetes rocket by well over a million, new figures show.

Now, Diabetes UK is calling for better care together with a greater focus being placed on prevention, warning that the cost of the epidemic is threatening to cripple the NHS.

The new data shows that 3.33 million people in England and Wales have been diagnosed with the condition following a rise of almost 60% - or 1.2 million adults - over the last 10 years.

The charity says more work is urgently required to help highlight the importance of prevention, coupled with more effective care for those diagnosed with the illness.

It claims 40% of diabetics are not receiving the eight aspects of care recommended by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The charity says devastating health complications such as strokes, heart attacks and the need for amputations can arise when the condition is not managed as NICE recommends, placing an even greater burden on the already strained NHS finances.

In order to manage their condition abroad, holidaymakers can take out diabetes travel insurance to protect themselves against unforeseen events.

Diabetes UK's chief executive, Barbara Young, says the increase in the number of people living with the condition since 2005 exceeds the population of Cyprus.

She stresses that there is no time to waste and is calling on the Government to act immediately to tackle the diabetes epidemic and cut people's risk of suffering further health complications.

She says the condition is already costing the NHS almost £10 billion each year, four fifths of which is accounted for by having to deal with preventable health complications.

That, she adds, shows there is huge scope for saving money and easing the pressure on NHS services.

The chief executive says it is vital that a much higher proportion of those with diabetes get all eight of the care processes recommended by NICE.

Type 2 diabetes accounts for around 90% of all cases and is linked with lifestyle factors such as obesity.