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Number of people with type 2 diabetes in Scotland increases by 40% in a decade

Over 300,000 Scots living with type 2 diabetes, including those yet to be diagnosed. People with type 2 diabetes 50% more likely to die prematurely.

New analysis released today by Diabetes Scotland shows that the number of people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in Scotland has increased by 40%, from 190,772 to 267,615, between 2008 and 2018.

In addition there are an estimated 34,830 people living with type 2 diabetes who are yet to be diagnosed, bringing the total number up to 302,455.

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

The news comes on the same day it’s revealed that the number of people living with all types of diabetes across the UK has risen to 4.8 million, which includes almost one million people living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. This is a stark increase of more than 100,000 from last year. At this rate, the number of people with diabetes, included the undiagnosed population, is expected to rise to 5.3 million by 2025.

While not every case of type 2 diabetes is associated with excessive weight, it is the single greatest risk factor, responsible for 80 to 85% of someone’s risk of developing the condition. Age, family history, and ethnicity can also contribute to someone’s risk. People of African-Caribbean, Black African or South Asian descent are two to four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than white people.

Angela Mitchell, National Director of Diabetes Scotland, said:

“Type 2 diabetes is an urgent public health crisis, and solving it depends on decisive action led by both the UK and Scottish Governments, supported by industry and delivered across our society. We must create healthy environments which support people to make healthy choices. This includes mandating industry to make food and drinks healthier and addressing the marketing and promotion of unhealthy foods.

Almost two thirds of the Scottish population is overweight, putting people at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes. More than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes − and the accompanying risk of developing devastating complications − could be prevented or delayed if people are supported to maintain a healthy weight.

We welcome the action from the Scottish Government in developing the Type 2 Diabetes Framework but we must ensure that there is long term support people in Scotland to live healthier lives. There is no quick fix to tackle this so it’s imperative that there is joined-up action and clear leadership at all levels.”

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

Learn more about weight loss and diabetes

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