New research published today reveals the fact that the UK actually has one of the fastest growing rates of childhood type 1 diabetes throughout the world. The study incorporated 57 countries, and found an annual increase of 4 per cent in the UK compared with 2.8 per cent worldwide.
The UK ranked fifth globally behind Finland, Sardinia, Sweden and Kuwait . Around 20,000 children in the United Kingdom suffer from type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is also becoming more common amongst children, although this strain of the disease is caused by other factors .
The study was conducted by the National Public Health Institute in Helsinki, and will be published in the journal Diabetic Medicine . Their prediction is that if rates continue to increase, there could be 30,000 type 1 child diabetics by 2015.
The director of care and policy at diabetes UK stated: “There are currently 250,000 people in the UK with Type 1 diabetes. It is extremely worrying that this research shows those numbers could be rising by an average 4% each year. Previously, the annual increase was 3%. Increasing rates of diabetes means more children are at risk of going blind, losing limbs and suffering from kidney failure and heart attacks in later life if they are unable to manage their condition effectively. Although we don’t know exactly what causes Type 1 diabetes, we have always suspected that genetics, environmental factors and infections could be triggers. However, the large increase of Type 1 diabetes in a relatively short period of time cannot solely be caused by genetic factors. Therefore, environmental factors and infections must play a major part.”

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