Rates of Diabetes Increasing In The UK

The Department of Health’s document ‘Health Profile of England’ published in October 2007 shows that rates of Diabetes continue to increase in the UK.

There are 2.35 Million people in the UK diagnosed with Diabetes and up to a further 750,000 who have type 2 diabetes but are unaware they have it. The number of diagnosed cases is expected to rise to 2.5 Million by 2010. Around 5% of the total NHS spend is used for the care of people with Diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic progressive disease that has an impact on almost every aspect of life and is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK. Life expectancy is reduced by at least fifteen years for someone with type 1 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, which is preventable in two thirds of those people who have it, life expectancy is reduced by up to 10 years. It is estimated that around 90% of people with diabetes have type 2.

Increases of Obesity have also shown to be a major factor in the rising cases of obesity.1,2

Type 1 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes develops when the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas have been destroyed. Nobody knows for sure why these cells have been damaged but the most likely cause is an abnormal reaction of the body to the cells. This may be triggered by a viral or other infection.

Type 2 diabetes

If you are white and over 40 years old, or if you’re black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group and over 25 years old and have one or more of the following risk factors, you should ask your GP for a test for diabetes.

The risk factors

o A close member of your family has Type 2 diabetes (parent or brother or sister).

o You’re overweight or if your waist is 31.5 inches or over for women; 35
inches or over for Asian men and 37 inches or over for white and black men.

o You have high blood pressure or you’ve had a heart attack or a stroke.

o You’re a woman with polycystic ovary syndrome and you are overweight.

o You’ve been told you have impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting

o If you’re a woman and you’ve had gestational diabetes.

o You have severe mental health problems.

The more risk factors that apply to you, the greater your risk of having diabetes.

Your age

You’re at risk of diabetes if you’re over 40 or you’re over 25 and black, Asian or from a minority ethnic group. The risk also rises with age so the older you get the more at risk you are.

The family

Having diabetes in the family puts you at risk. The closer the relative is, the greater the risk. So if your mum or dad has diabetes, rather than your aunt or uncle, it’s more likely you will develop the condition too.


African-Caribbean or South Asian people who live in the UK are at least five times more likely to have diabetes than the white population.

Your weight

Not all people with diabetes are over weight but the stats show that over 80 per cent of people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight. The more overweight and the more inactive you are the greater your risk. If you don’t know whether you’re overweight, ask your GP to measure your BMI.

Your waist

Women – if your waist measures 31.5in (80cm) or more you’ve got an increased risk.
Men – if you’re white or black and your waist is 37in (94cm) or more you have an increased risk of developing diabetes; if you’re an Asian man the figure is 35in (90cm) or more.

The other factors

If you’ve been diagnosed with any problems with your circulation, had a heart attack or stroke, or if you’ve got high blood pressure you may be at an increased risk of diabetes.
Pregnant women can develop a temporary type of diabetes – gestational diabetes. Having this – or giving birth to a large baby – can increase the risk of a woman going on to develop diabetes in the future.

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome who are overweight are at an increased risk of developing diabetes.

If you’ve been told you have either impaired fasting glycaemia (IFG) or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) it means the level of glucose (sugar) in your blood is higher than normal but you don’t have diabetes and you should follow a healthy diet, lose weight if you need to and keep active, to help yourself prevent diabetes. But make sure you’re regularly tested for diabetes.

Other conditions such as raised triglycerides (a type of blood fat) and severe mental health problems can also increase your risk.

If you think you may be diabetic but have not been tested speak to your GP or Pharmacist for advice