Type 2 diabetes: a potential public health disaster
Global Diabetes Challenge There are 3 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes. About 90 per cent of these have Type 2 diabetes and a further estimated 850,000 people have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know it because they haven’t been diagnosed.
If rates of Type 2 diabetes continue to rise, it is estimated that 5 million people in the UK will be living with diabetes by 2025. Diabetes UK has warned that this would be a public health disaster that would place a huge strain on the NHS.
Everyone is at risk of Type 2 diabetes, but around 7 million people in the UK are at high risk. Up to 80 per cent of Type 2 cases can be delayed or prevented with lifestyle changes, so being active and maintaining a healthy weight are the best ways to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
People are more at risk of getting Type 2 diabetes if they:
are overweight, especially if they have a large waist
are over 40 (or over 25 if they are South Asian)
are Black African, African Caribbean or South Asian
have a parent or sibling with diabetes
have ever had high blood pressure, a heart attack or stroke
According to a new survey commissioned by Diabetes UK, less than a third of people realise that Type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health complications such as amputation, heart attack, blindness and stroke. Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: “You only have to spend five minutes talking to someone who has lost their sight or has lost a leg as a result of Type 2 diabetes to realise the devastating impact the condition can have. But most people do not understand the potential consequences of developing it.
“The good news is that developing Type 2 diabetes is not just a question of fate. By doing relatively simple things like losing some weight, eating more fruits and vegetables and becoming more active, we can all significantly reduce our risk, even if our ethnicity or family history has put our risk at a higher starting point.
“If any of the risk factors apply to you then you should check your risk today.”