The number of people living with diabetes in Northern Ireland has risen by an alarming 33% in the last five years.
New figures in a report by Diabetes UK Northern Ireland show that since 2007 diabetes rates have climbed by a third, with the obesity-related type 2 diabetes accounting for the majority of these new cases – around 90%.
Overall, more than 80,000 people in the country, or 4% of the population, have been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus, and this includes around 1,000 children and young people under the age of 17 with type 1 diabetes.
If the current trend continues, new cases of insulin-dependent type 1 diabetes will increase by 100 each year, the ‘State of the Nation’ report warns.
Iain Foster, the Northern Ireland Director of the Diabetes UK charity, which published the first-of-its-kind report for the regio, said the latest statistics serve as a “stark warning” to the nation’s health service.
“33% is a huge increase and puts immense pressure on the health service, with the potential to bankrupt it if diabetes is not managed and people living with diabetes do not get even the minimum level of healthcare that they should be receiving,” he said.
“We spend £1m a day in Northern Ireland on diabetes and the majority of that is spent on preventable complications, so as well as reducing the human impact of diabetes we need to reduce the financial cost to the health service because we cannot continue how we are going.”

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