Diabetes in the UK: Record 4m people have the condition in Britain, charity reveals

The figure could rise to 5million in a decade

The number of people with diabetes has risen to 4million for the first time – a figure which could rise to five million in a decade, a charity has warned. 

Diabetes UK used GP practice data to find that 4.05 million people have the condition. 

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said that the need to tackle the condition has “never been so stark or so urgent.” 

This figure includes the 3.5 million people who have been officially diagnosed with the condition, and the 549,000 people who are believed to Type 2 diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed. 

The charity highlighted that the new figures reflect a 119,965 rise from the previous year, which has contributed to a 65 per cent increase in the past decade. 

If the trend continues, some five million people will have diabetes by 2025, Diabetes UK stressed.

Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “With four million people in the UK now living with diabetes, the need to tackle this serious health condition has never been so stark or so urgent.”

Citing that almost two in every three people in the UK are overweight or obese, and are therefore at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, he said "basic measures" need to be introduced to slow the rise. 

"Basic measures such as making healthy food cheaper and more accessible, introducing clearer food labelling and making it easier for people to build physical activity into their daily lives would have a profound influence."

Diabetes UK also flagged that hospital care for people with diabetes is consistently poor, and that people with diabetes are not being properly educated on how to manage their condition. 

More than a third of regions in England still not running them, according to the charity.

Mr Askew recently wrote in a piece for The Independent that restricing junk food advertising; changes in portions sizes; and improved food labelling are needed to tackle the issue. 

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, said: "Sadly, too many people suffer from Type 2 diabetes and its serious health consequences.

"We must help prevent those at high risk of developing it from doing so.

"The NHS diabetes prevention programme, due to begin national rollout in the spring, will help people make the lifestyle changes that lessen their risk - eating more healthily, being more physically active and achieving a healthy weight and waist size."

Additional reporting by PA