According to Diabetes UK, the self-help charity for diabetics, the number of people with the condition is expected to hit 5 million by 2025. There are currently 3.8 million sufferers in the UK today but this is likely to grow because people do not take it seriously enough to make the right lifestyle changes. The charity has also revealed that less than a third of people realise that Type 2 diabetes can lead to many more serious health complications, such as amputation, heart attack, blindness and stroke.
Type 2 diabetes involves patients who either do not produce enough insulin or the insulin that they do produce does not work properly. Type 2 diabetes accounts for approximately 85% of diabetes sufferers and can be treated by improving diet and taking part in regular exercise. Type 1 diabetes is not caused by diabetes and sufferers can produce any insulin. This type of diabetes cannot be cured.
In order to raise awareness, Diabetes UK has launched a national campaign to have the risk of Type 2 diabetes assessed. Barbara Young, the charity’s chief executive, said: “You only have to spend five minutes talking to someone who has lost their sight or has lost a leg as a result of Type 2 diabetes to realise the devastating impact that the condition can have.
“But this survey makes it clear that most people do not understand the potential consequences of developing it and I worry that until we finally lay to rest the myth that Type 2 diabetes is a mild condition, it will continue to be seen as something that is not worth being concerned about.
“This is a misconception that is wrecking lives and is the reason that as a country we are sleepwalking towards a public health disaster of an almost unimaginable scale.” Losing weight, eating healthily and increasing exercise can significantly reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
Speaking about the expected rise in the number of diabetic patients in the UK, FORZA Managing Director Lee Smith said: “The number of people with diabetes has been steadily growing for many years, but that does not seem to have affected people’s attitudes to the condition. “We are always trying to help people make healthier lifestyle choices but this is not enough if we want to prevent a nationwide diabetes epidemic. “It is more honest and hard-hitting surveys from hard working charities like Diabetes UK that are required if we are going to change public opinion and make people finally realise the seriousness of the condition”.