Get a diabetes check: A million Brits don't know they have the disease
ALMOST a million people in England have potentially deadly Type 2 diabetes but do not know it, health chiefs have warned.
Experts urged anyone over 40 to be tested for the disease, which increases the risk of a stroke or heart attack.
Shocking new statistics released today show that 3.8 million adults have diabetes – that is around nine per cent of the adult population.
Worryingly, research reveals that one in four of these, an estimated 940,000 people, are completely unaware they have the condition.
If not properly treated, diabetes can also lead to serious complications, including foot amputation and kidney disease.
Health chiefs fear that soaring diabetes figures could bankrupt the NHS unless action is taken.
John Newton, of Public Health England, said: “The number of people with diabetes has been steadily increasing.
“Tackling it is fundamental to the sustainable future of the NHS. Diabetes can be an extremely serious disease for those that have it and treating it and its complications costs the NHS almost £10billion a year.”
Today’s figures were produced by Public Health England’s National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network and are being launched at a major conference at Warwick University.
They warn that if trends continue, one in 10 adults, nearly five million people, may have the disease by 2035.
But Mr Newton stressed: “Type 2 diabetes is not an inevitable part of ageing.
“We have an opportunity through public health to reverse this trend and safeguard the health of the nation and the future of the NHS.”
Chris Askew of Diabetes UK, said: “These new estimates show the scale of diabetes and its impact on people.
“Too often they only find they have the disease after they have developed serious complications, such as heart or kidney disease or foot problems, which can lead to amputations.
“Avoiding or delaying such devastating complications depends on people getting diagnosed earlier.
“We urge people over 40 to attend a NHS Health Check when invited. We also want people to take steps to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”
Poor eating habits and increasingly sedentary lifestyles are thought to be major factors behind increasing rates of the Type 2 form of the disease.
Approximately 90 per cent of diabetes cases are Type 2. But it can be successfully managed by switching to a healthy diet and exercising more.
To tackle the issue, The Healthier You: NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme was launched by Public Health England, NHS England and Diabetes UK this year.
Director Jenifer Smith, said: “The good news is that Type 2 diabetes is largely preventable.”
The chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board, Izzi Seccombe, said: “It is deeply alarming that one in four people with diabetes are not even aware they have it. It is really important that people aged 40-74 get a free NHS Health Check.”
While the diabetes risk is increased by being overweight, family history, ethnicity and age are also factors.
Symptoms include thirst, urinating frequently, particularly at night, fatigue, muscle loss, itching, wounds that heal slowly and blurred vision.
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