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Diabetes: The bigger picture

There are an estimated 4.5 million people living with diabetes in the UK. This includes one million who have diabetes but have not been diagnosed.

Since 1996, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has more than doubled from 1.4 million to almost 3.5 million, and around 700 people a day are diagnosed with diabetes. That’s the equivalent of one person every two minutes.


According to the HSCIC, using data from the Health Survey in England, 22 per cent of men and 24 per cent of women in England have a very high risk of developing long-term health problems (based on NICE guidelines on prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity) because they have both an increased BMI and an increased waist circumference.


Type 1 diabetes

Although more than 85 per cent of Type 1 diabetes occurs in individuals with no previous first degree family history, the risk among first degree relatives is about 15 times higher than in the general population.

Type 2 diabetes

There is a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors in Type 2 diabetes. It tends to cluster in families. People with diabetes in the family are two to six times more likely to have diabetes than people without diabetes in the family.


Good diabetes management has been shown to reduce the risk of complications. But when diabetes is not well managed, it is associated with serious complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease and amputations leading to disability and premature mortality.


It is currently estimated that about £10 billion is spent by the NHS on diabetes. That equates to about 10 per cent of the NHS budget.

The total cost (direct care and indirect costs) associated with diabetes in the UK currently stands at £23.7 billion and is predicted to rise to £39.8 billion by 2035.

During the summer, talked to more than 9,000 people about what life with diabetes is really like. They told them what needs to happen to build a better future for them and other people with diabetes. For more information on how you can support this cause visit:

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