The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has increased from 1.9 million to almost 3.7 million in the last two decades, according to a new report from Diabetes UK.
The report highlights that these additional diagnoses plus the estimated 1 million people living with type 2 diabetes who do not know they have it, takes the total number of people with diabetes in the UK to 4.6 million.
In the last year, the number of people diagnosed with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the UK increased by almost 100,000 between November 2016 and November 2017, from 3,590,501 to 3,689,509.
The area in the UK with the highest prevalence of diabetes, with 10.4% of its population living with a diagnosis is Bradford, in West Yorkshire. The area with the lowest prevalence, at 3.6% of the population, is Richmond in London.
Diabetes UK concluded that if nothing changes, more than 5 million people in the UK will have diabetes by 2025.
“Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time; and the fact that diagnoses have doubled in just 20 years should give all of us serious pause for thought,” said Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK.
“With more than 12 million people across the UK at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and prevalence of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes still on the rise, it’s clear there’s a huge amount of work to be done.
“We want the government to recognise the seriousness of the growing diabetes crisis, take action to help those at increased risk, and help us turn the tables on this devastating condition,” he added.
Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, described the figures as “very disappointing”.
“This report lays bare the true cost of diabetes, in human and financial terms,” she said.
“The fact that most type 2 cases are brought on as a result of our modern lifestyles and are therefore preventable makes it even more shocking.
“GPs want our patients to live long, healthy and fulfilling lives and we try our best to talk with them about simple lifestyle changes that can have a positive impact on their health.”
But, she added, the buck could not stop with healthcare professionals alone. “Educators, food manufacturers, retailers and others all have a part to play,” she declared.