Thursday, 1 July 2010

Warning of Hidden Type 2 Diabetes

Warning of Hidden Type 2 Diabetes

More than a million Britons now have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes - twice as many as previously thought, data has suggested.

The rise is largely due to growing levels of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles.

Previous estimates from 2006 suggested around 500,000 Britons had Type 2 diabetes but did not know it. But new figures from the Diabetes Health Intelligence report suggest 820,000 adults in England have undiagnosed diabetes.

Across the UK, this figure is likely to be 1.1 million, according to analysis by Diabetes UK. This could push the number of sufferers of Type 2 and Type 1, which is not linked to unhealthy living, to 5.5 million by 2030, the charity said.

Type 2 diabetes can go undetected for a decade or longer and around half of people are already showing signs of complications by the time they are diagnosed. Diabetics are at higher risk of heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, leg amputation and blindness.

Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "Avoidable in so many cases, the Type 2 diabetes epidemic is a clear example of where the new government's rhetoric of tackling health problems through prevention must be turned into action.

"Failure to act now means a bleak future of spiralling NHS costs and worsening public health."

He described the latest set of figures as "truly alarming".

He added: "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."

As well as being overweight, being over 40 (or over 25 in Black and South Asian communities) or having a close relative with diabetes is linked to Type 2.

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