“Urgent action” is needed to tackle the increasing number of people at risk of type 2 diabetes, which is now at it’s highest ever, according to new NHS figures.
The NHS said there are nearly two million people who are at risk of developing the condition, which in some cases is associated with obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Data, published by the health service, has unveiled that there are 1,969,610 GP-registered people who currently have non-diabetic hyperglycemia, putting them at risk of diabetes.
NHS chief executive, Sir Simon Stevens said: “Our bulging waistlines mean two million people are now at risk of joining the expanding ranks of those living with largely preventable type 2 diabetes.
“Unless many more of us make a change, obesity-related illnesses will end up costing hundreds of thousands more lives and billions of pounds in higher treatment costs.”
To tackle the increasing burden of the condition, the NHS has committed to the Long-Term Plan which was announced in January 2019.
It is committed to delivering better support for patients and to prevent people from developing the condition in the first place.
NHS national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, Professor Jonathan Valabhji said: “As these stark figures show it is wrong to think that the obesity and diabetes crisis is limited to those in middle and old age – there around 115,000 younger people suffering type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing the condition.
“The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the part we are playing to tackle the situation including piloting low calorie diets to achieve type 2 diabetes remission, and doubling capacity of our world leading NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme that can prevent people developing in the first place.”
Chris Askew, chief executive at Diabetes UK, said: “The record number of people at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes demonstrates the need for urgent action to stop its rapid growth.
“More than half of all cases of type 2 diabetes − and the devastating complications it can lead to − could be prevented or delayed by supporting people to reduce their risk by losing weight where appropriate, eating healthy food and being more active.”
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