But the bill could be reduced with better education about the condition and early diagnosis, the British Diabetic Association (BDA) said. Treatment for the condition accounts for pounds 2.1bn of the annual NHS budget and diabetes is the single biggest cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK. The news comes on World Diabetes Day and coincides with the launch of NHS guidelines on how to educate the public and sufferers about the condition. More than 1.4 million people in Britain have diabetes and the BDA estimates there may be another million undiagnosed.
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Treating diabetes costs the National Health Service more than pounds 4,000 a minute, according to figures released today.