Action required to curb alarming increase in diabetes

The number of people that have been diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has increased by nearly 130,000 to 2.9 million in the past year, the health charity Diabetes UK has warned, adding that this is nearly a 50% rise since GPs first published diabetes data back in 2005.

The increase has been mainly in cases of type 2 diabetes, which accounts for around 90% of all diagnoses and most commonly develops in people who are overweight.

However, the charity has also urged people to be aware of other risk factors associated with the condition, including having a large waist, being aged over 40, having a family history of the condition or being from black, Asian or ethnic minority communities.

Barbara Young, Diabetes UK chief executive, said: “The rate of increase of diabetes is growing with huge human cost, and cost to the NHS. The time for action is now. Whilst rates of other serious conditions, including many cancers, heart disease and stroke, are steady or declining, the epidemic of diabetes continues to grow at even faster rates.”

The figures came as statistics from the Department of Health, published in October, showed that the number of people dying from strokes, heart attacks and cancer had fallen over the last decade, with people dying from strokes and heart attacks decreasing the most significantly, falling by two-fifths since 1999.

Joe Korner, director of communications at The Stroke Association, said that while the figures were good news, they also posed a challenge in terms of how people now lived, and worked, with the after-effects of stroke.

“We’re now in a situation where there are over a million people in the UK living with the after-effects of stroke, many of whom need support in their daily living. We need to ensure that all stroke survivors gain access to the support they need after their stroke and communities continue to invest in the vital stroke services that can provide this support,” he added.

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