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Number of people with diabetes reaches three million

Proportion of UK population with the condition reaches new high of 4.6%

Ingrid Torjesen

Monday, 04 March 2013

The number of people in the UK who have been diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time, according to an analysis by Diabetes UK and Tesco.

In the last year 132,000 people were diagnosed with diabetes. Now, 4.6 per cent of the UK’s population have the condition. A further 850,000 people are thought to have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK said: "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.

"Instead, all the projections suggest that the three million figure 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.”

Every year in England and Wales, 24,000 people with diabetes already die earlier than expected and that figure is expected to grow. 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 NHS burdened with unsustainable costs, which has huge implications for public health.

Tesco and Diabetes UK have announced the findings of the analysis to mark the launch of a major new national partnership that will see Tesco, its customers, colleagues and suppliers aim to raise £10 million to fund the biggest-ever public awareness campaign on Type 2 diabetes risk factors targeting the estimated seven million people at high risk. It will also fund research into a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes

Ms Young said: "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.”

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