According to a report by Diabetes UK, the UK is currently facing a rapidly escalating diabetes crisis. The report reveals that cases have surpassed five million for the first time, with under-40s increasingly affected. The majority of diabetes patients have type 2 diabetes, which is more likely to develop if people are overweight. In the UK, approximately two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese. The report shows an all-time high of 4.3 million officially diagnosed cases of type 2 and type 1 combined, along with another 850,000 people living with one of the conditions but still undiagnosed. Additionally, 2.4 million people are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes. The rising number of cases means that millions of Britons are at an increased risk of serious complications, including heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke, amputation, and blindness.
The report raises concerns over the high number of people who are overweight or obese across the UK, directly “translating” into an increase in cases of type 2 diabetes. Obesity increases the risk of type 2 diabetes sevenfold, while being overweight increases it threefold. The report also expresses concerns about the increasing number of younger people developing type 2 diabetes, with the number of under-40s with the condition rising at a faster pace than among the over-40s.
The charity called on the government to make diabetes central to its forthcoming major conditions strategy to prevent cases and support people at high risk. The report highlights the complex risk factors for type 2 diabetes, which include age, family history, ethnicity, and being overweight or obese. Diabetes UK believes that the UK is facing a public health emergency and urgent action is needed to prevent the crisis from escalating further.