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October 2021

One in three adults at risk of type 2 diabetes

Nearly 10% of the adult population of the UK will be living with diabetes by 2030, a new analysis from Diabetes UK predicts.

Almost one in three adults is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, and the number of people with diabetes is predicted to reach 5.5 million within a decade, the charity says.

The predictions are based on analysis of Public Health England and the Association of Public Health Observatories’ diabetes prevalence projection models.

Diagnoses of diabetes have doubled in the last 15 years, and currently almost 4.1 million people in the UK are diagnosed with some form of the condition. A further 850,000 are thought to have type 2 diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed.

The charity is calling on the Government to:

  • Make more funding available to enable more people to avoid a diagnosis of type 2 through increasing access to proven preventative measures such as the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme.
  • Significantly expand access to interventions to help people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes go into remission where possible, such as low-calorie weight-management programmes and bariatric surgery.
  • Improve access to weight management services for those living with overweight or obesity.
  • Urgently address post-pandemic backlogs, to ensure swift recovery of diagnoses of type 2 diabetes and ensure that people with all types of diabetes have access to care and diabetes checks, to minimise their risk of diabetes complications.

Diabetes UK warns that if no further action is taken, there could be more than 87,000 hospital admissions a year due to diabetes, an increase of 14% from 2020-21 and more than 50% higher than in 2006-07.

Last month Practice Nurse reported that the coronavirus pandemic has led to almost 2.5 million people with diabetes in England not receiving all their recommended health checks and 60,000 missed or delayed diagnoses of type 2 diabetes.

Figures presented at the European Association for the Study of Diabetes annual meeting confirmed that 2.5 million diabetes diagnostic tests were missed during the fist 6 months of the pandemic, together with 1.4 million routine blood tests for people with diabetes. The number of monitoring tests dropped from 32,000 to 19,000 per month during lockdown, and diagnostic tests more than halved from 31,000 to 12,000. But as of September 2021, HbA1c test volumes were beginning to reach expected levels.

Practice Nurse 2021;51(9):7