A new study has suggested that a third of adults in England now have prediabetes.
The research, published in the British Medical Journal suggests there has been a big rise in prediabetes, which is where blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to qualify as Type 2 diabetes.
The authors predict a surge in Type 2 diabetes in the coming years, which would have serious implications for the country.
Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “This study is further evidence that there is an increasing number of people who are developing prediabetes.
"Significantly increased risk of Type 2 diabetes"
“Having high enough blood glucose levels to be classified as having prediabetes leaves people at a significantly increased risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is a lifelong condition that already affects more than 3 million people and can lead to serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, amputation and blindness.
“We need to make sure those at high risk are made aware of this so that they can get the advice and support they need to make the lifestyle changes that can help reduce this. In fact, up to 80 per cent of cases of Type 2 diabetes could be avoided or delayed by making these kinds of changes.
“Programmes such as the NHS Health Check are already doing an important job in assessing people’s risk, by measuring weight and waist, as well as looking at family history and ethnicity. But at the moment not everyone who is eligible for this check is getting one and we need this to change.
“Some of this population may already be receiving treatment for high blood pressure or cholesterol but not all will and we are concerned that if people are being identified as being at high risk, or even having prediabetes, they may not be getting all of the support they need for their health to be managed effectively, including advice on weight reduction, activity and risk-reducing diet.
"Tenth of NHS budget spent on diabetes"
“Unless we make people aware of their risk of Type 2 diabetes and support them in changing their lifestyles, we could see an even greater increase in the number of people with the condition than we are already expecting. A tenth of the NHS budget is already being spent on diabetes and unless we get much better at preventing Type 2 diabetes this spending will soon rise to unsustainable levels.”
People can check their risk of Type 2 diabetes using our online Risk Score, or by visiting their local pharmacy or seeing their GP.
Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes are being overweight; having high blood pressure; having a large waist; having a family history of diabetes; or being over 40 (or over 25 for people from a South Asian, African, African Caribbean or Chinese background).