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A million people in UK don't know they have diabetes

A million people in UK don t know they have diabetes Double previous estimate

More than one million people in the UK are estimated to have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes. This is twice as many as previous estimates.

The latest figures from Diabetes Health Intelligence, suggest 820,000 people in England have diabetes but don't know it.

When applied to the rest of the UK, the figure is likley to be 1.1 million said charity Diabetes UK. This means that the UK diabetes population could reach 5.5 million by 2030.

The rise is likely due to the steadily increasing numbers of overweight and obese people in the UK.

Douglas Smallwood, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said: "This new estimate of a million cases of undiagnosed Type 2 cases in the UK is truly alarming.

"Avoidable in so many cases, the Type 2 diabetes epidemic is a clear example of where the new government’s rhetoric of tackling health problems through prevention must be turned into action.

"Failure to act now means a bleak future of spiralling NHS costs and worsening public health."

A late diagnosis of type 2 diabetes increases the risk of serious complications such as stroke, kidney failure, blindness, heart disease and amputation.

People often discover they have diabetes by accident when they are at the doctor's for another reason.

Diabetes UK believes the Government’s NHS Health Checks programme which targets people between the ages of 40 and 74, will help identify more people with Type 2 diabetes.

Most at risk

Middle aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes compared with women, but are less likely to see their GP. Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Having a large waist or being overweight
  • Being of Black or South Asian origin
  • Having a family history of the condition
  • Being over the age of 40, or over 25 if you’re Black or South Asian

At risk waist measurements are 37 inches or more for men, except those of South Asian origin who are at risk at 35 inches or more, and 31.5 inches or more for all women.

Warning signs

  • Increased thirst
  • Having to pee all the time, especially at night
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Genital itching or regular episodes of thrush
  • Wounds which are slow to heal

This article was published on Wed 30 June 2010

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