Around two million people in England are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, according to the latest NHS figures.
The statistics, published today, show a total of 1,969,610 people registered with a GP have non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, a condition which puts people at high risk of Type 2, which is the highest figure since records began.
NHS England warns of an even greater threat citing the growing obesity crisis that is exposing millions more to the condition.
“Our bulging waistlines mean two million people are now at risk of joining the expanding ranks of those living with largely preventable Type 2 diabetes,” said Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive.
“The NHS’s highly successful, world-leading diabetes prevention programme is helping hundreds of thousands of people take small common-sense steps to get control of their own health. But unless many more of us make a change, obesity-related illnesses will end up costing hundreds of thousands of more lives and billions of pounds in higher treatment costs,” he added.
NHS is ramping up its effort to treat, prevent and even put the illness in remission as part of the Long Term Plan.
The world-first Diabetes Prevention Programme which identifies people at high risk of diabetes and supports them in living a healthier lifestyle has had around half a million referrals.
In April, NHS will roll out radical low-calorie diets, that have been shown to stamp out recently diagnosed Type 2 diabetes. This will be followed by a further nine months of support to help maintain weight loss.
Around nine out of 10 people with diabetes have Type 2 and there were over a million obesity diagnoses in hospital admissions last year, 884,000 the year before.
The growing number of people with diabetes may result in nearly 39,000 extra people suffering a heart attack in 2035, over 50,000 experiencing a stroke, while one in six hospital beds not occupied with someone with diabetes.
NHS national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, Professor Jonathan Valabhji said: “As these stark figures show it is wrong to think that the obesity and diabetes crisis is limited to those in middle and old age – there around 115,000 younger people suffering Type 2 diabetes or at risk of developing the condition.”
“The NHS Long Term Plan sets out the part we are playing to tackle the situation including piloting low-calorie diets to achieve Type 2 diabetes remission and doubling capacity of our world-leading NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme that can prevent people developing in the first place,” he added.