A charity is warning of a diabetes time-bomb as it revealed that more than 3 million people in the UK may have the condition.
Diabetes UK says the government needs to take urgent action to tackle Type 2 diabetes, which is closely associated with obesity and has reached epidemic proportions across the world.
Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes and accounts for between 85% and 95% of all cases.
Type 2 diabetes
A total of 2.3 million Britons are now diagnosed diabetics – with 100,000 new cases last year alone – and a further 750,000 people could have have Type 2 diabetes without knowing it.
Diabetes UK says that if poorly managed or left undiagnosed, people with diabetes increase their chances of developing serious complications such as blindness, limb amputation, kidney damage, heart disease and stroke.
People face a reduced life expectancy of up to 20 years if they have Type 1 diabetes, and up to ten years if they have Type 2.
Douglas Smallwood, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK, said: ‘Diabetes UK is calling for immediate action on Type 2 diabetes and obesity to prevent future generations facing a lifetime of ill health and an early grave.
‘Type 2 diabetes is the biggest health challenge of our time. We need to take collective and individual responsibility for this devastating issue, which means government must work with all sections of society to enable them to live healthier lives.
‘After all, studies have shown that changes to diet and levels of exercise can reduce new cases of Type 2 diabetes by 58 per cent.
‘This proves that we really can make a difference and begin to defuse the diabetes time-bomb.’