The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled in the last twenty years, according to new analysis released by Diabetes UK.
The new figures show that there are now almost 3.7 million people living with a diagnosis of the condition in the UK, an increase of 1.9 million since 1998.
The data also shows that the number of people diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes has increased by almost 100,000 since last year – from 3,590,501 to 3,689,509.
The West Yorkshire city of Bradford has the UK’s highest prevalence of diabetes, with more than one in ten people (10.4%) living with a diagnosis. Conversely, Richmond in London has the lowest incidence, with 3.6% of the population affected. The national average is currently 6.6%.
Almost nine in ten people diagnosed with diabetes have type 2, and it is estimated that there are nearly 1 million people currently living with the condition who don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed. Counting this undiagnosed population, the total number of people living with diabetes reaches 4.6 million.
While type 1 diabetes isn’t currently preventable, three in five cases of type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by making healthier choices, by helping people understand their own risk of developing the condition − and how to reduce it – and by securing early diagnosis for those known to be at high risk.
There are an estimated 12.3 million people at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the UK, and obesity is the leading cause in the majority of preventable cases.
Three in five women (59%) and two in three men (68%) are overweight or obese. More than one in five children (22%) are overweight or obese in their first year of primary school in England. This increases to more than one in three (34%) by the time they leave primary school.
Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time, and the fact that diagnoses have doubled in just twenty years should give all of us serious pause for thought.
“Both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes are serious conditions that can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease if people don’t receive a timely diagnosis and begin receiving the right care.
“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.”