Number of people with diabetes reaches over 4 million

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Number of people with diabetes reaches over 4 million

The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has exceeded the 4 million mark for the first time, according to figures from Diabetes UK.

The new figures, taken from GP patient data revealed there are now 4.05 million people with the condition in the UK, which includes 3.5 million adults who have been diagnosed.

This is an increase of 119,965 compared to the previous year, and an increase of 65 per cent over the past decade. There are also thought to be 549,000 people with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

Diabetes UK warned that there is an "urgent need for adequate diabetes care."

The National Audit Office recently criticised the often poor standard of diabetes care - large numbers of people are experiencing potentially preventable diabetes-related complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation.

Diabetes UK said at the moment, more than 24,000 people a year with diabetes die prematurely as:

• Just 60% of people with diabetes are getting the eight NICE recommended checks which are key to identifying any problems early enough to prevent complications.
• Diabetes education courses are not being commissioned for people in over a third of areas in England
• Hospital care for people with diabetes is "consistently poor and, in a significant minority of cases, is putting people's lives at risk."

The charity also said that improvements in care would account for 80% of the NHS' £10 billion annual spend on diabetes.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "With 4 million people in the UK now living with diabetes, the need to tackle this serious health condition has never been so stark or so urgent.

Tragically, we are continuing to see too many people with diabetes suffering serious complications, and even dying before their time, and we know that key reasons for this are that they are being denied both the care and access to education that would help them to manage their condition well.

"It is vital that we start to see people with diabetes receive good quality care wherever they live rather than them being at the mercy of a postcode lottery."

Askew also called for the government to take "active steps" in addressing the fact that almost two in every three people in the UK are overweight or obese and are therefore at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

He said that basic measures such as making healthy food cheaper and more accessible, introducing clearer food labelling and making it easier for people to build physical activity into their daily lives would have a profound influence.

PMI comment 

Dr Keith Klintworth, deputy CEO of VitalityHealth, said: "We are living in a climate where diabetes is now one of the most serious health issues to affect our nation and urgent action is required. With increasing evidence that type 2 diabetes can be linked to obesity and poor lifestyles, these figures must act as a wakeup call and inspire people to make a few simple changes to benefit their later life.

"We all have a responsibility to ensure people fully understand the benefits of daily exercise and behavioural changes. This is why we believe in the importance of making exercise habitual and encourage people to introduce physical activity into their existing routines. Not only will this bring great societal benefits, but as a consequence this attitude change could help reduce the strain on the NHS."

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