By Tracy Kelly, Diabetes UK
New figures just released by Diabetes UK show that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has increased to more than 3.2 million. This is the biggest increase in a single year since 2008, with 163,000 more cases in 2013 than there were in 2012.
These figures demonstrate that the sharp rise of new cases over the last decade shows no signs of slowing down. Even more worrying is that if we continue on this trajectory it is predicted there will be 5 million people affected by diabetes in the UK by 2025.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for most of the increase and one of the main reasons for this is the high obesity rate. Being overweight is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes, while other factors include genetics, age and ethnicity. We need more people to be aware of diabetes, more people to know their risk of developing type 2 diabetes and more people being supported to reduce their risk of developing it.
The big increase in the number of people with diabetes confirms that we are in the middle of an unfolding public health disaster and it is frightening to think that one in 17 people you walk past in the street has been diagnosed with the condition. This doesn’t include the 630,000 who have diabetes but don’t yet know it. The time to act is now!
Apart from campaigning for better public awareness, better prevention programmes for type 2 diabetes and better care for everyone with diabetes, we need to address the obesity crisis by making healthy food cheaper and more accessible and by making it easier for people to build physical activity into their daily lives.
We’d really encourage Healthy Food Guide readers to find out more about diabetes by visiting www.diabetes.org.uk. You can also find out your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by taking a quick online risk assessment (www.diabetes.org.uk/risk) or discussing your concerns with your nurse or doctor. Taking action now could help you to significantly reduce your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.