The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has more than doubled in the last 20 years to almost 3.7 million.
Figures released by the NHS’s Quality and Outcomes Framework showed that type 1 or type 2 diabetes diagnoses increased by 100,000 between 2015-16 and 2016-17.
In 1998, around 1.8 million people had been diagnosed with the condition, according to the charity Diabetes UK.
It estimated that around one million more people in the UK are living with undiagnosed diabetes. Around 90% of people with the condition have type 2 diabetes, which the charity said can often be prevented by making healthier choices.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time; and the fact that diagnoses have doubled in just 20 years should give all of us serious pause for thought.
“Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are serious conditions that can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease if people don’t receive a timely diagnosis and begin receiving the right care.”
The charity estimated that 12.3 million people have an increased risk of type 2 diabetes; with obesity one of the major causes in preventable cases.
It argued that Bradford has the UK’s highest prevalence of diabetes, with around 10% of people in the city living with a diagnosis. Richmond in south-west London had the lowest rate of diabetes at 3.6%.
Diabetes UK called on the Government to restrict junk food advertising and supermarket promotions for “unhealthy” foods in order to reduce the number of people being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.
“We want the Government to recognise the seriousness of the growing diabetes crisis, take action to help those at increased risk, and help us turn the tables on this devastating condition,” added Askew.
Cancer Research UK has also urged the Government to ban junk food television adverts before 9pm, as it revealed that seven in 10 ‘millennials’ are expected to be overweight or obese between the ages of 35-44.