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Number of people with diabetes reaches 4.8 million


Read the latest 2023 figures for the number of people living with diabetes in the UK.

Diabetes is on the rise, with 5.3 million expected to be living with the condition by 2025. Our findings also show that people with type 2 diabetes are 50% more likely to die prematurely. 

Diabetes on the rise

3.9 million people are living with a diagnosis of diabetes in 2019, and 90% of those with type 2. In addition, there are almost a million more people living with type 2 diabetes who don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed yet, bringing the total number up to more than 4.8 million.
Our data shows a stark increase in the number of people living with a diabetes diagnosis in the UK of more than 100,000 from last year. At this rate the number of people with diabetes, including the undiagnosed population, is expected to rise to 5.3 million by 2025.

Complications of diabetes

People with type 2 diabetes are 50% more likely to die prematurely than those without diabetes. A common complication of diabetes that can lead to early death is heart disease. People with type 2 diabetes are also two to two-and-a-half times more likely to experience heart failure and twice more likely to have a heart attack compared to people without diabetes.

Diabetes risk factors

Age, family history, and ethnicity can contribute to someone’s risk, with people of African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian descent two to four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white people.

The single greatest risk factor, however, is obesity. While not every case of type 2 diabetes is associated with excessive weight, it is responsible for 80 to 85% of someone’s risk of developing the condition. 

Obesity in England has almost doubled in the last 20 years from 6.9 to 13 million, yet Government action to tackle obesity appears to have stalled. Under both Theresa May and Boris Johnson the Government has consistently failed to publish the results of numerous consultations on the matter.

We want action

We are calling on the Government to honour their manifesto commitment to tackle childhood obesity and make it a top priority to take decisive action in order to stem the tide of obesity. 

We are also calling on the Government and NHS England to continue their focus on preventing devastating complications, through better care for all people with diabetes.

Chris Askew, Chief Executive at Diabetes UK, said:
“Type 2 diabetes is an urgent public health crisis, and solving it depends on decisive action that’s led by government, supported by industry and delivered across our society.
More than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes − and the accompanying risk of developing devastating complications − could be prevented or delayed by supporting people to make healthier choices. This includes mandating industry to make food and drinks healthier and addressing the marketing and promotion of unhealthy foods.
At the same time, we need to help people understand their personal risk of type 2 diabetes and find tailored clinical support to reduce it. The Government promised to tackle obesity, and it’s time for them deliver on this promise, and lead the way in affecting real change. Preventing type 2 diabetes, and the development of devastating complications for those living with the condition has to be a public health priority."

You can out more about the risk factors for type 2 diabetes and what you can do to reduce your risk here.

John Lewindon, 67, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes:

"I remember waking up on the Friday morning and being very, very breathless. They rushed an ambulance to me and I remember sitting on the side of the the bed... looking into the eyes of my wife and daughter, thinking 'I'm not ready to die.'"

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