One in 10 adults in the UK could have diabetes by 2030, according to a study by charity Diabetes UK.
The study also shows that 17 million people, one in three adults living in the UK, could be at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, unless the Government puts together a plan to prevent diabetes.
In 2018-2019 almost 4 million people in the UK were diagnosed with the condition, but the number is estimated to be higher if taking in considerations undiagnosed cases.
90% of sufferers have type 2 diabetes, a serious and often lifelong condition where the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin or the insulin it produces doesn’t work optimally, causing blood glucose levels to rise.
Type 2 diabetes can cause a number of serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, eye damage, kidney disease, nerve damage, hearing impairment, dementia, sleep apnea and skin disease.
Those with weight problems such as obesity and with family history of diabetes are most at risk.
It is estimated that 63% of British adults are overweight, and 28% are classified as obese.
Diabetes UK believes that unless the Government acts quickly, 5.5 million people will be living with the condition in less than a decade. The charity is asking Downing Street for more funding to be made available to increase access to proven preventative measures, such as the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme and weight management programmes. It also asks for better support for people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes to go into remission where possible, and ensure that everyone suffering from the condition has access to appropriate care.
Diabetes UK Chief Executive Chris Askew OBE said: “Every diagnosis of diabetes is life-changing. The relentlessness of the condition, and the ever-present fear of serious and life-altering complications is a lifelong reality for millions of families across the UK.
“It’s a sobering thought then that, if we don’t act today, hundreds of thousands more will face the life-changing news that they have type 2 diabetes. We’re at the tipping point of a public health emergency, and need action today to stop it in its tracks.
“But it doesn’t have to be this way – we know that with the right care and support, diabetes complications can be avoided, and cases of type 2 diabetes can be put into remission, or prevented altogether.
“We don’t want our prediction to become a reality. What we need to see is the will, grit and determination from government to halt this crisis in its tracks, and improve the future health of our nation for generations to come.”
People with diabetes are advised to manage the condition through healthy eating, aerobic exercise, medication as prescribed by a doctor, and, in the case of patients whose pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin, by taking insulin as directed.