The number of people with diabetes in Britain is expected to rise by 700,000 by the end of the decade, according to data analysis out this week.
The analysis, published by Diabetes UK and based on data from the Yorkshire & Humber Public Health Observatory, predicts there will be 4.4 million people in England, Scotland and Wales with the condition by 2020, an increase of almost a fifth compared to now.
Diabetes UK says the vast majority of the extra 700,000 cases would be Type 2 diabetes, which can often be prevented by making lifestyle changes such as losing weight.
It says that such a significant increase in the number of people with the condition would put great financial pressure on the NHS, which it notes is already spending 10% of its overall budget on treating diabetes.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said the healthcare system is “already at breaking point” in terms of its ability to care for people with diabetes.
She said: “The result is that many people are developing health complications that could have been avoided, and are dying early as a result.
“Because of this, I have grave fears about the potential impact of an extra 700,000 people with diabetes.”
Young called on the Government to fund a campaign aimed at raising awareness of the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes to help identify and provide support to those at high risk.
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