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UK diabetes on the rise

Zone default image Linked to rise in obesity

The number of people with diabetes in the UK rose by over 145,000 last year, according to national charity Diabetes UK.

Data obtained from GP practices shows that over 2.6 million people now have diabetes in the UK, and more than 5.2 million people are registered as obese. Often the two conditions are linked.

This means that one in ten people are being treated for obesity and one in twenty for diabetes.

“These latest figures are extremely worrying," said Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK.

"Diabetes is a serious condition that causes heart disease, stroke, amputations, kidney failure and blindness, and more deaths than breast and prostate cancer combined.

“Many, but not all, people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese, therefore we need to do all we can to raise awareness of diabetes and help people understand how following a balanced diet and leading an active lifestyle can help reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes."

Around 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle factors such as being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating an unhealthy diet.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), worldwide 80% of people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese at the time of diagnosis.

Currently in the UK, up to half a million people have diabetes and don't know it, leaving them at risk of the more severe complications of the condition including sight loss, gangrene, erectile dysfunction, heart disease, stroke and kidney failure.

Risk factors for Type 2 diabetes include:

  • Having a large waist or being overweight - 37 inches or more for men, 35 inches or more for men of South Asian origin, and 31.5 inches or more for all women
  • Being of Black or South Asian origin
  • Having a family history of the condition
  • Being over 40 years old, or over 25 if you’re Black, Asian or from an ethnic minority group

This article was published on Mon 5 October 2009

Image © Phototom - Fotolia.com

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