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Diabetes total hits 4 million in UK

06 January 2016 09:24

Type 2 diabetes is linked to unhealthy lifestyles, including obesity

Type 2 diabetes is linked to unhealthy lifestyles, including obesity

More than four million people in the UK are now living with diabetes, according to new figures.

Analysis of GP practice data by Diabetes UK reveals as many as 4.05 million individuals have the condition.

The charity is calling for a Government-led concerted effort to address the situation before it gets even worse. If current trends continue, an estimated five million people could have diabetes by 2025.

'Urgent issue'

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, says the need to tackle diabetes has never been so stark or so urgent.

With almost two in every three people in the UK classed as overweight or obese and therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, he claims more needs to be done to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

He recommends basic measures such as making healthy food cheaper and more accessible, introducing clearer food labelling and making it easier for people to build physical activity into their daily lives.

Some 3.5 million of the 4.05 million people living with diabetes have been officially diagnosed, up 119,965 on the total from the previous year and an increase of 65% over the course of the past decade.

However, 549,000 people are also believed to have Type 2 diabetes but are currently undiagnosed.

Being diagnosed with diabetes does not mean life has to stop.

For instance, diabetes travel insurance gives people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes the peace of mind they need to enjoy trips abroad.

Premature deaths

Over 24,000 people with diabetes die prematurely every year due to failures in accessing the best type of care, according to Diabetes UK. This includes eight annual checks in areas such as foot care and eyesight.

Only 60% of people with diabetes currently receive the checks, which are designed to prevent complications which can lead to limb amputation, blindness, kidney failure and even death.

The charity warns people are missing out on education courses designed to help them manage their condition, with more than a third of regions in England still not running them. It also describes hospital care for people with diabetes as consistently poor.