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Undiagnosed diabetes risk continues to increase


Rising levels of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles have seen the number of undiagnosed cases of type 2 diabetes swell to more than a million, research has found.

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It was previously thought that there were about 500,000 people in Britain suffering from the condition without being formally diagnosed, but new estimates have suggested that 820,000 adults in England alone could have undiagnosed diabetes, data from Diabetes Health Intelligence suggests.

Diabetes UK said this figure increases to 1.1 million people if results are considered for the rest of the UK.

If the trend continues, hospitals and nursing staff could be overwhelmed by cases by 2030 when some 5.5 million people could be living with either type 1 and type 2 diabetes in the UK.

Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "Whilst screening of at-risk groups has started, notably through the NHS health checks programme, it is clear there needs to be greater emphasis on successful delivery throughout the country."

Care services minister Paul Burstow echoed Mr Smallwood's comments, adding that PCTs across the UK are productively identifying and assessing those most at risk.

They include people who are overweight, aged over 40 or who have a relatives currently living with diabetes.


Readers' comments (4)

  • I work in primary care, running CDM clinics. Not a week goes by without us identifying 1-2 (sometimes more) new diabetics. Some we identify quite quickly, others are people who have probably had diabetes for a while. We are fast becoming overwhelmed by the demands on the service. This weeks reports that despite greater access to diabetic services, the statistics are not improving is probably true. The levels of apathy amongst my patients when faced with having to modify or alter their lifestyle is high, it seems that people do not want to take responsibility for their health and sometimes do not even perceive themselves as being overweight or at risk as so many other people look/have the same.

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  • i agree - what happened to learning to live happily with your body and get the most out of it? i am fairly young but can still see a growing population that think medicine can fix anything - when the truth is far from it. we all know the best medicine is prevention, so maybe we should be motivating the young to take responsibility for themselves? what about a boot camp for health?

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  • Danger here of blaming the patient rather than considering the wider influences and determinants on health (good and bad). My experience as a clinician and educator for both patients and healthcare professionals is that we tend to send out signals to patients that they failing to meet 'targets' which are invariably ours and not theirs. Neither do we always acknowledge and nurture their efforts to improve self-management. Perhaps, a more person-centred and collaborative approach is required - for example care planning.

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  • Martin Gray

    I wonder if there any statistics of the number of diabetes case during the war years? During that period, and up until 1954 when rationing was finally abolished, people had to 'make and mend'. They had to grow as much food for themselves as they could and any form of waste was actually against the law.

    Nowadays we rely on processed foods, fruit and vegetables flown in from the other side of the world, and very few poeple have gardens let alone somewhere to grow food such as an allotment.

    Wouldn't it be great if councils allocated land for co-operatives made of residents from a street or housing estate could club together and grow their own? Just think of the benefits to society; a return to some of the old values that have been forgotten in the wake of drugs and alcohol.

    People are very well of diabetes and it is their responsibility, now that the information is freely available, to lead healthier lives; it is their choice not to do so but should not rely on medicine tocure their ills. I have heard numerous health care professionals say that people that smoke should be refused treatment or have to pay for it; the same should said for people that develop diabetes perhaps.

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