• Over 3.78 million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes is characterised by higher than normal blood glucose levels due to the body being insulin resistant or not making enough insulin
  • Just under 150,000 people with type 2 diabetes are under 40, a jump of 23% analysis from Diabetes UK reveals

Type 2 diabetes is growing in people under 40 years old, according to an analysis published by Diabetes UK.

The number of people under 40 with a clinical diagnosis of type 2 diabetes in the UK has risen to 148,000, a 23% increase from 2017 figures.

Type 2 diabetes is a metabolic disorder that results in hyperglycemia (high blood glucose levels) due to the body:

  • Being ineffective at using the insulin it has produced; also known as insulin resistance and/or
  • Being unable to produce enough insulin

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes include feeling tired during the day, often constant hunger,and urinating more often than normal.

If left untreated, type 2 diabetes can cause complications such as stroke, kidney failure and heart disease.

Type 2 diabetes has until recently been rare in people aged 40 years or younger.

Chris Askew OBE, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said: “If you’re under 40, you’re not immune to type 2 diabetes. It is vital that you check your risk now and that individuals, no matter what their age or background, are given the opportunity to access support to reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes.”

There are many risk factors for type 2 diabetes including genetics, ethnicity, obesity and family history.

Disruption due to Covid lockdowns may have also had an effect on habits, nutritional status and exercise.

A survey of 5,764 people published in August revealed the lifestyle-related changes people with diabetes undertook during the UK’s first lockdown.

  • Individuals with type 2 diabetes reported worse sleep quality and greater consumption of convenience and sugary foods than those with type 1 diabetes.
  • However, people with type 2 diabetes also consumed more fresh food and drank less alcohol than the respondents with type 1.

With the right treatment and support, many cases of type 2 diabetes can be put into remission or reversed.

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