Published on 15 May 2023

Record figures as diabetes diagnoses increase.

A recently published report has revealed that the number of people living with diabetes in the UK has topped 5 million for the first time.

According to latest figures 4.3 million people are now living with a diagnosis of diabetes in the UK. Registration figures for 2021-22 are up by 148,951 from 2020-21, and more than 2.4 million people are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the UK. 

Approximately 90% of diagnoses are of type 2 diabetes, and around 8% of diagnoses are type 1 diabetes, with the other forms of the condition making up the remaining 2%.

It is estimated that there are an additional 850,000 people living with diabetes who are yet to be diagnosed, bringing the overall figure to more than 5 million in the UK. 

The figures come from a study by Diabetes UK, who are calling on the government to ensure that national and local health systems prioritise identifying more people at risk of type 2 diabetes, reduce health inequalities, and target communities where diabetes prevalence is high.

People living with diabetes can be at risk of a number of complication and latest figures show that each week diabetes leads to 184 amputations, more than 770 strokes, 590 heart attacks and 2,300 cases of heart failure.

Obese person holding excess fat.

To minimise the risk of additional complications better education is necessary for people newly diagnosed with diabetes, and in the case of type 2 diabetes – being aware of what can lead to the condition, including being overweight.      

Factors such as income, education, housing, access to healthy food, as well as poorer access to healthcare, have also been shown to be strongly linked to an increased risk of developing several health conditions – including obesity and type 2 diabetes.     

More recently type 2 diabetes has become increasingly common among people aged under 40 and it is more prevalent in areas where there are higher levels of deprivation. While numbers of under 40s with type 2 diabetes remain a small proportion of total cases, it is known to have more severe effects on younger people.      

Zoe Davies, a spokesperson for the campaign groups Action on Sugar and Action on Salt, said: “These latest findings unfortunately come as no great surprise given the government has turned its back on many of the key polices designed to improve public health, in particular children’s health.

“They have delayed plans for a ban on pre-watershed TV advertising for junk food, for example, in favour of multinational food companies which are making huge profits from selling unhealthy products and do not have a vested interest in the nation’s health.

“Now, more than ever, the UK’s population need equitable access to healthy, affordable food and this can only be achieved with policies designed to rebalance our food system.”

Read more about type 2 diabetes 

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