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25.02.20

Two million people in England at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes

New NHS figures show around two million people in England are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the highest figures on record.

Coming at a time when the NHS is ramping up efforts to treat, prevent and even put the illness in remission, as part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the latest stats show the significant challenges the healthcare service faces in tackling the issue.

The data shows nearly two million people registered with a GP across England have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, a condition which puts people at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, with the true scale of the problem likely to be even greater as the growing obesity crisis is exposing millions more to the condition.

In an effort to combat the increasing diabetes risk, the NHS has sought to combat the illness through its world-first Diabetes Prevention Programme which identifies people at high risk of diabetes and supports them to live a healthier lifestyle.

Combatting Type 2 diabetes, which is largely preventable through lifestyle changes, also has a significant impact for not just the patients involved, but the wider healthcare service too. At present, Type 2 diabetes treatment accounts for just under 9% of the annual NHS budget; around £8.8bn a year.

NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens said: “Our bulging waistlines mean two million people are now at risk of joining the expanding ranks of those living with largely preventable Type 2 diabetes.

“The NHS’s highly successful, world-leading diabetes prevention programme is helping hundreds of thousands of people take small common sense steps to get control of their own health.

“But unless many more of us make a change, obesity-related illnesses will end up costing hundreds of thousands more lives and billions of pounds in higher treatment costs.”

NHS national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, Professor Jonathan Valabhji, added: “As these stark figures show it is wrong to think that the obesity and diabetes crisis is limited to those in middle and old age – there around 115,000 younger people suffering Type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing the condition.

“The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the part we are playing to tackle the situation including piloting low calorie diets to achieve Type 2 diabetes remission, and doubling capacity of our world leading NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme that can prevent people developing in the first place.”

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