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GPs and hospital doctors are receiving more visits from diabetic patients than ever before, as new figures reveal the number of people living with the condition in the UK has risen to 3.8 million.
Statistics from Public Health England (PHE) show that cases of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes are on the up, with the increase regarding the latter largely attributable to the rise in obesity. Type 2 diabetes is one of the major risk factors among overweight and obese people, and this form of the disease accounts for approximately 90 per cent of cases in Britain at present.
Age and genetics can also play a role in a person's likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes, but it is undeniable that the growing problem of obesity is increasing doctors' workloads and putting a strain on already-stretched NHS resources.
John Newton, chief knowledge officer at PHE, commented: "Diabetes can be an extremely serious disease for those that have it, and treating it and its complications costs the NHS almost £10 billion a year.
"Developing type 2 diabetes is not an inevitable part of ageing - we have an opportunity through public health to reverse this trend and safeguard the health of the nation and the future of the NHS."
What's more, PHE believes that one in four people with type 2 diabetes do not know they have the condition, which equates to around 940,000 potentially putting their health at risk unknowingly, as diabetics are more likely to suffer from kidney disease, a stroke or heart attack if they are not managing their illness in the correct manner. In extreme cases of diabetes mismanagement, a foot may need to be amputated.
However, by following a healthy, balanced diet and exercising regularly to keep obesity at bay, people should be able to prevent themselves being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, those who are found to have the condition can follow the advice given to them by their doctor to keep their risk of the above complications as low as possible.
Written by James Puckle
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