According to a new analysis from the British Heart Foundation, the number of people suffering heart attacks and strokes as a result of their diabetes will rise by 29% by 2035.

The forecast reveals that the growing number of people with diabetes could result in nearly 39,000 people living with diabetes suffering a heart attack in 2035 – a rise of 9,000 compared to 2015 – and over 50,000 people suffering a stroke – a rise of 11,000.

Today in England, nearly 4 million people are living with diabetes. But this is expected to rise to over 5 million over the next 20 years, partly due to people’s worsening lifestyles and the UK’s growing obesity rates.  

The vast majority of people with diabetes have type 2, with just 10% diagnosed with type 1 in the UK. People with diabetes are twice to four times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people without diabetes. This means the rise in diabetes cases, is expected to trigger a sharp increase in these deadly heart and circulatory problems. 

In addition to heart attack and stroke, the rise in diabetes cases will increase the number of people suffering from conditions including angina and heart failure.

This rise is likely to put an unprecedented burden on the NHS, with previous estimates suggesting the yearly cost of treating people with diabetes will be £16.9 billion by 2035, up from £9.8 billion in 2012. 

Simon Gillespie, CEO of the British Heart Foundation, said: “Thanks to research we’ve made excellent progress in improving survival rates for heart attacks and strokes. However, today’s figures point to an extremely worrying trend. People with diabetes are at an increased risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases and the expected surge in diabetes cases by 2035 could put thousands more people at risk of a deadly heart attack or stroke.” 

“We can only reverse this trend by taking bold action to tackle obesity and inactivity, especially amongst young people.  This must include consideration of further regulatory action to reduce sugar and fat content in food, and to curb junk food advertising directed at young children.  The food industry is not acting quickly enough to re-formulate its products, despite mounting evidence of their impact on the nation’s health.”  

“We also need continued research that will enable us to better understand how diabetes leads to these deadly heart and circulatory conditions, and how we can stop it.”