The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in England has increased by approximately 70,000 in the past year alone, latest figures suggest.
The statistics from the charity The Information Centre for Health and Social Care also showed there are now up to four million people in England who are registered as obese – a key contributor to diabetes – with GP practices.
In 2006-07, diabetes prevalence jumped from 3.6% to 3.7%, or from 1,915,605 people diagnosed with the condition to 1,986,200, it calculated.
Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of the charity Diabetes UK, said: “These figures are truly alarming as diabetes is a serious condition which can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and nerve damage that can cause amputation.
“We need to do all we can to raise awareness of the condition and to encourage people to follow a healthy diet and active lifestyle to help them reduce their risk of developing diabetes.
“As the number of people being diagnosed is rising, we also need to remember that up to 750,000 people have diabetes in the UK and are not aware of it,” he added. “This means that thousands of people are going about their daily lives unaware they have a condition that reduces their life expectancy.”