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Are we on the verge of a diabetes epidemic?

2 October 2012

Are we on the verge of a diabetes epidemic?

The number of cases of diabetes is set to increase by 700,000 by 2020, due to Britain’s obesity problem.

Diabetes UK said the number of people with the condition could reach 4.4million in just eight years, putting further strain on the NHS.  Currently, 10% of its budget is spent on treating people with the illness.

Chief executive Barbara Young said, “A combination of diabetes and NHS budget pressures could create a perfect storm that threatens to bankrupt the NHS”.

The new cases are predicted to be mainly Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to an unhealthy lifestyle and obesity.  The body does not produce enough insulin for it to function properly or the cells in the body don’t use the insulin properly.

Ms Young said, “If this projected increase becomes reality, it would be a calamity for the healthcare system and a disaster for public health.  But the Government and the NHS do not seem to have grasped the scale of the impending crisis and at the moment we seem to be sleepwalking towards it. But the crucial point is that it is still not too late to take the action needed to avert it.

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.”