The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has risen by more than 167,000 since last year, bringing the total diabetes population to almost 2.5 million according to new data from GP practices. This rise is more than double the 2006 to 2007 increase of 83,000.
In England, a 6.4 per cent increase means the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has broken two million for the first time. In Northern Ireland and Wales, the increase was 6.8 per cent and 6 per cent respectively, with diabetes prevalence now standing at 60,822 and 138,988. Improved recording in Scotland contributed to the biggest rise (16.9 per cent) with the recorded diabetes population now standing at 200,669 compared to 171,513.
The figures also show that there are now 5 million people registered obese in the UK compared to almost 4.8 million last year.
Truly alarming figures
“These are truly alarming figures," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.
"Part of why we have seen such a huge increase can be attributed to improved screening from healthcare services and greater awareness amongst those at high risk of Type 2 diabetes. However, there is no getting away from the fact that this large increase is linked to the obesity crisis.
“Diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today. It causes heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness, and more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined.
One million pounds an hour spent on diabetes
“The NHS already spends one million pounds an hour on diabetes. The soaring diabetes prevalence will continue to put a massive strain on an already struggling NHS and unless it can respond, people’s health could spiral downwards. We need to do all we can to raise awareness of the seriousness of diabetes and help people understand how a healthy lifestyle can help reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”
The figures are from the 2007-2008 Quality and Outcomes framework (QOF) for England by The Information Centre for Health and Social Care, for Scotland by The Information Services Division, for Northern Ireland by The Department of Health, Social Services Public Safety, for Wales by The National Assembly for Wales.