Number of UK diabetics reaches record level

by Barbara Hewitt on March 5, 2013

More people are starting on a pump sooner after diagnosis

Number of UK diabetics reaches record level

The number of people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time, new data has revealed. It means that the equivalent to 4.6% of the UK’s population are diabetic, according to the analysis carried out by Diabetes UK and supermarket giant Tesco.

The figure represents an increase of 132,000 people diagnosed with diabetes over the last year. A further 850,000 people are thought to have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. Experts have warned that unless more is done to prevent type 2 diabetes and more help is given to help those with the condition, the increase could see the National Health Service burdened with unsustainable costs, which has huge implications for public health.

Every year in England and Wales, 24,000 people with diabetes die earlier than expected, a situation that is expected to get even worse without urgent action. Tesco and Diabetes UK have announced the new figures to mark the launch of a major new national partnership that will see Tesco, its customers, colleagues and suppliers aim to raise £10 million. This is the biggest donation ever pledged to the charity, to help create a healthier future for people affected by diabetes or at risk of developing it.

The partnership will also fund the biggest ever public awareness campaign on type 2 diabetes risk factors, aiming to reach the estimated seven million people at high risk. ‘We are hugely concerned that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time. There is no reason to think this will mark the end of what has been a rapid rise in the condition,’ said Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

Quote from Diabetesforum.com : “Nine out of 10 parents do not know the four main symptoms of type 1 diabetes, according to a new survey commissioned by charity Diabetes UK.”

‘Instead, all the projections suggest that the figure of three million will be a grim staging post on the road towards a public health emergency. This unfolding tragedy is already putting huge pressure on the NHS and will have potentially devastating consequences for those people who develop the condition,’ she explained.

However, she pointed out that this is not inevitable. ‘By identifying those at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, we can ensure they start getting support to make the kind of lifestyle changes that can help prevent it. And by making sure people who have type 1 or type 2 diabetes are already getting the care and support they need, we can help them avoid the devastating complications diabetes can cause,’ added Young.

Rebecca Shelley, group corporate affairs director at Tesco said that the partnership enables the firm to ‘inspire our colleagues and customers to come together and raise awareness and much needed funds to help the millions of people with diabetes in the UK’. The supermarket will be encouraging customers to take action to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes through its network of pharmacies, investing in groundbreaking research and using its scale to support everyone affected by and at risk of diabetes.

Funds raised by the partnership will help fund a number of initiatives including pioneering research into a vaccine for type 1 diabetes, offering real hope for thousands of children and adults across the globe for a future without this type of the condition. The partnership will also fund the biggest ever public awareness campaign on type 2 diabetes risk factors aiming to reach the estimated seven million people at high risk.

Risk assessments will be available to customers in Tesco pharmacies aimed at helping to identify some of the 850,000 people who have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. The partnership aims to provide information and advice to almost a million people with type 2 diabetes and will also fund a series of Living with Diabetes Days around the UK that will help people newly diagnosed with type 2 diabetes understand how to best manage their condition.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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