Millions of British face diabetes crisis
DIABETES CRISIS TO HIT 4.4M BRITONS
Experts have warned obesity will trigger a national health disaster
Tuesday October 2,2012
By Jo Willey
OBESITY is fuelling a British diabetes crisis, a charity has warned.
And it claims the problem will trigger a national health disaster with millions facing a lifetime of chronic illness.
The number blighted by the condition is set to soar by 700,000 in just eight years, with at least 4.4 million sufferers by the end of the decade.
Experts are now warning that the potent combination of unprecedented numbers with diabetes and NHS budget pressures could create a “perfect storm that threatens to bankrupt the NHS”.
But Diabetes UK insists that the tide can be turned if people adopt simple lifestyle changes to help them lose weight and cut their chances of the condition developing. At least 90 per cent of all diabetes cases are Type 2 – fuelled by obesity, too much alcohol, a lack of exercise and general unhealthy living.
Other risk factors include being over 40, having a large waist, a family history of diabetes or being from black, Asian or minority ethnic communities.
It puts people at a dramatically increased risk of health problems which can lead to amputation, blindness, kidney failure, stroke and early death.
Losing just 10 per cent of your body weight can slash your chance of developing diabetes by 50 per cent.
The charity is now warning that the NHS is already at “breaking point”, spending at least £1million every hour on treating and managing the condition.
Chief Executive Baroness Barbara Young said she has “grave fears” of the impact caused by an extra 700,000 with the condition.
Speaking exclusively to the Daily Express, Baroness Young said: “If the rise in Type 2 diabetes continues, it will have dire consequences for the NHS and for people with diabetes.
“We need to raise awareness that if people are overweight, have a large waist and are not physically active then they are at increased risk of Type 2 diabetes and this has serious implications for their health.
“There are about seven million people at high risk of Type 2 diabetes and it is only by making these people aware of the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and support them in achieving this that we can start to bring the rise under control. We need to start properly delivering the NHS Health Check, which is supposed to be given to everyone between the ages of 40 and 74, so that we can reach these people and we also need a Government-funded public awareness campaign.
“The healthcare system is already at breaking point. We face the very real prospect of the rise in the number of people with the condition combining with NHS budget pressures to create a perfect storm that threatens to bankrupt the NHS.”
Diabetes UK analysed figures from the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory and found that the vast majority of new cases will be Type 2.
This is a long-term, chronic condition that occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin for it to function properly, or when the body’s cells do not use insulin properly. Type 1 diabetes, which develops when the body cannot produce any insulin, is also rising but scientists do not know for certain why this is the case.
A Department of Health spokesman said: “We are taking wide-ranging action to tackle diabetes. First through prevention –- by encouraging healthier lifestyles and identifying those at risk and supporting them to take the necessary action to prevent diabetes. Secondly, by better management of the condition, both in hospital and in the community.
“We hope to help prevent people getting diabetes in the first place, but by investing in the NHS and modernising it, we will also drive up the quality of care for those who have it.”
There are around 3.7 million people in Britain with diabetes, including an estimated 850,000 people who have Type 2 diabetes but do not know it.