Diabetes is a chronic condition affecting millions worldwide, and the UK is no exception. The number of people living with diabetes in the UK has reached over five million, and the situation is becoming increasingly urgent. As a result, calls have been made for action to be taken to prevent more people from developing the condition and to support those who are already living with it.

From raising awareness and understanding to taking actionable steps, let’s work together to combat diabetes and improve our nation’s health.

Key Statistics And Facts

In the UK, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has risen sharply in recent years, and it’s estimated that over 5 million people live with the condition. Let’s take a closer look at the current diabetes crisis in the UK and some key statistics and facts to help understand the scope of the issue:

  • According to Diabetes UK, there were 3.8 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK in 2015, which rose to 4.8 million in 2019. It’s estimated that a further 1 million people live with undiagnosed diabetes.
  • Type 2 diabetes, often linked to lifestyle factors such as poor diet and lack of exercise, accounts for around 90% of all diabetes cases in the UK.
  • The risk of developing type 2 diabetes is higher for certain groups, including people from South Asian, Black, and African-Caribbean backgrounds and those who are overweight or have a family history.
  • Diabetes can have serious long-term effects on a person’s health, including an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
  • The cost of diabetes to the NHS is high, with an estimated £10 billion spent on diabetes-related care in 2017. This is equivalent to 10% of the NHS budget.

It’s clear that diabetes is a growing concern in the UK, and we must take action to address this crisis. By raising awareness of the condition and making lifestyle changes to prevent and manage diabetes, we can work towards a healthier future for all.

Types And How They Affect Your Body

Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body processes blood sugar, also known as glucose. When you eat, your body breaks down the food into glucose, entering your bloodstream. Additionally, insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, helps move the glucose from your bloodstream into your cells, which are used for energy.

There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. 

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to meet the body’s demands.

Risk Factors For Diabetes

Although the causes of diabetes are not fully known, certain risk factors can increase the chances of developing the condition. Some of the most common risk factors for diabetes include:

  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese can significantly increase your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. This is because excess body fat can cause insulin resistance, which can lead to high blood sugar levels.
  • Ethnicity: Certain ethnic groups, such as South Asians, Black Africans, and African Caribbeans, are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than others.
  • Family history: If you have a family history of diabetes, you may be more likely to develop the condition yourself.
  • Age: The risk of developing Type 2 diabetes increases as you get older.

How Diabetes Develops

Type 1 diabetes develops when the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. This can happen at any age but usually occurs in childhood or adolescence.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin, or the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin to meet the body’s demands. This can happen when a person is overweight or obese or has a family history of diabetes.

Although Both types of diabetes, the result is high blood sugar levels, which can cause a range of health problems if left untreated. Therefore, important to take steps to prevent and manage diabetes, such as maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and getting regular exercise. 

Obesity And Diabetes

Obesity is one of the most significant risk factors for developing diabetes. When a person is overweight or obese, their body becomes resistant to insulin, meaning it can’t use glucose effectively. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, which can damage the body’s organs and tissues over time. Eating healthy and exercising can reduce the risk of diabetes and help manage it for those who already have it. Moreover, losing weight through healthy habits can improve diabetes management and lower the risk of developing the condition.

Symptoms And Complications Of Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition that affects how your body uses blood sugar, also known as glucose. Glucose is an essential energy source for your body, but when you have diabetes, your body can’t regulate it properly. Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms and complications of diabetes.

Common Symptoms 

Some of the common symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slow-healing cuts or bruises
  • Tingling, pain, or numbness in the hands or feet

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you must see a doctor to get tested for diabetes.


If left uncontrolled, diabetes can lead to several complications that can have serious consequences. Some of these complications include:

  • Heart disease and stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Nerve damage
  • Eye damage and blindness
  • Dental problems
  • Skin conditions

Managing And Preventing Diabetes

While there is currently no cure for diabetes, it can be managed through medical care. Treatment typically involves managing blood sugar levels through lifestyle changes, medication, and insulin therapy. It’s also important to maintain a healthy diet and engage in regular physical activity to manage diabetes.

It’s essential to be aware of the symptoms and complications of diabetes and to seek medical care if you suspect you may have this condition. With proper management, people with diabetes can lead healthy and fulfilling lives.

Preventing diabetes is vital to reducing its impact on individuals and society. Identifying individuals at high risk of developing diabetes is crucial. Providing them with the support they need to make lifestyle changes can help reduce their risk. This includes healthy eating, regular exercise, and weight management.

Prioritising Prevention

Diabetes is a growing health crisis in the UK, affecting millions and significantly burdening the healthcare system. As such, there is an urgent need for action to address the problem and prevent it from worsening further. 

Diabetes UK, a leading charity focused on improving the lives of people affected by diabetes, has called on the UK government to make diabetes a priority in its primary conditions strategy. The charity argues that this is necessary to address the growing prevalence of diabetes and the associated health and economic costs.

Awareness And Encouraging Lifestyle Changes

Raising awareness about diabetes and the risks associated with it is crucial to prevent the further spread of this disease. Encouraging lifestyle changes can help manage diabetes and lower the risk of health issues like heart attacks and strokes. Such changes include regular physical activity, a healthy diet, and maintaining a healthy weight.

In a nutshell, the diabetes crisis in the UK is a significant issue that requires urgent action from both the government and individuals. By making diabetes a priority in the government’s important conditions strategy, providing preventative measures and support to those at risk, and raising awareness about the disease, we can work together to combat this growing health problem and improve the health and well-being of the nation.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *