Nearly 4 million people are living with diabetes in the UK, new figures released by Diabetes UK have revealed.
The figures were extracted from NHS data and published to coincide with Diabetes Week. The figures revealed that there were 3,333,069 adults registered with diabetes in 2013–14 – an increase of more than 125,000 compared to the previous year. Combined with the estimated 590,000 people estimated to be living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes, it means that nearly 4 million people in the UK are living with the condition.
The findings represent an ongoing trend of rising cases of diabetes, according to Diabetes UK. The charity has called on the NHS to ensure people are given proper education they so they can effectively manage their condition.
If not managed effectively, diabetes can lead to numerous health complications, including amputation, blindness and stroke. Also, diabetes costs the NHS nearly £10 billion, 80% of which is spent on managing avoidable complications. Effective education can ensure people with diabetes can self-manage their conditions and prevent complications from developing.
Bridget Turner, Diabetes UK Director of Policy, said: “Over the last decade we have seen the number of people with diabetes rising at an alarming rate, and these latest figures are a stark call to action – we must act now or face the very real danger of diabetes devastating the lives of even more people, and threatening to wreck the already over-burdened NHS.
“There is a gaping hole when it comes to diabetes education because we know that most people newly diagnosed with diabetes are not offered a group education course. This is despite strong evidence that giving people the knowledge and skills to manage their diabetes effectively can reduce their long-term risk of complications.
“We must get better at offering education to people who are living with diabetes and help them to manage this serious, complex and often overwhelming condition. It is crucial that education is made available both at the point of diagnosis and beyond, as the education needs of people already living with the condition can change over time.
“Along with providing better and more flexible education options, local health systems need to focus on increasing the proportion of people getting the 15 healthcare essentials that everyone with diabetes should be receiving. Until we achieve these steps, we will continue to deny people living with diabetes of the best possible chance of living long and healthy lives.”
For more information on Diabetes Week visit www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetesweek, or search #DiabetesandMe on Twitter.