There are more than 850,000 people walking around with undiagnosed diabetes in this country, but equally worrying is that many of the 2.9 million people who have it and know about it are not properly managing the condition.

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Now a charity is warning that this failure could lead to a “public health disaster” and urging the government to step in with support programmes, along with ongoing medical care and education.

Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “Given that diabetes is serious and can lead to early death if not supported to manage their condition, it is extremely worrying that so few people have it under control.

“When you consider that there are now three million people diagnosed with diabetes and this number is rising quickly, the fact that so many of them do not have good control over their diabetes means that unless something changes we face a public health disaster. Whether these people have high blood glucose levels, blood pressure or cholesterol, they are at increased risk of diabetes-related complications such as heart disease, amputation, and stroke.”

The charity’s analysis of National Diabetes Audit figures showed that 19.9pc of people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes in England meet health targets for blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, with the number even lower in Wales at 18.5pc.

Out of those in England with Type 1 diabetes, which requires the daily administration of insulin, only 11.4pc are meeting the recommended levels.

Prof Mike Sampson, left, a diabetes consultant at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, said warnings such as this from Diabetes UK were a helpful reminder of the scale of the problem in this country.

“There are 45,000 people with diabetes in Norfolk, both diagnosed and undiagnosed. By 2030 there will be about 70,000 people. We know that 20 years ago there were only 17,000 so there is a huge increase in the number of people with diabetes which puts pressure on health systems, in general practice and hospitals. It’s going to get increasingly difficult to manage all of these people and to help them and help primary care to deliver all of these targets.”

Currently only 54pc of people with diabetes in England get the nine annual checks recommended nationally to prevent future problems.

Prof Sampson said the Norfolk area was above the national average for the number of checks carried out, which was a positive.

“The big issue is there are going to be so many more people with diabetes over the next 10 and 20 years. The question is whether the resources are going to be there to cope with it,” he said.

“One of the problems of diabetes is that it affects so many different areas of the health system – in-patient care, pregnancy, eye problems, circulatory disease, foot care and renal programmes. It is often difficult to remember how big the problem is and it’s helpful to have this sort of reminder of what a huge public health problem diabetes is.”

Some 24,000 people with diabetes die early every year in England and Wales, according to Diabetes UK.

The NHS spends about £10bn a year on diabetes, some 10pc of its entire budget, the charity added, with 80pc of that going on treating complications that could have been prevented in many cases.

Do you have a health story for the Norwich Evening News? Call reporter Adam Gretton on 01603 772419 or email adam.gretton@archant.co.uk

9 comments

  • Of course diabetes becoming a public health disaster, as we are being force-fed refined sugar. This addictive poison is being added in large quantities to virtually everything, yes we are slowly being poisoned. Just when will people wake up?

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    John L Norton

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

  • The population are eating too many carbohydrates,wheat, processed food and sugar, also drinking awful corn syrup and using processed oils. The situation will only get worse, am amazed at what people cram down their throats without a second thought for the harm they're doing, yet they wouldn't put diesel in a petrol engined car. The aisles in supermarkets are full of this stuff, also the end of aisle special offers. You have to educate yourself now, there's plenty of good information available, if you let TV and and supermarkets persuade you what to buy you're just going to get sicker.

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    Rob_H

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

  • "There are more than 850,000 people walking around with undiagnosed diabetes in this country."-----Prove it !!!

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    ggj666

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

  • N&N to seize on this revelation as their excuse of the week for slow ambulance turnaround at A&E?

    Report this comment

    Police Commissioner ???

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

  • My husband was diagnosed with diabetes last year and so far his G.P is pleased with how well he is managing to control it, however, there are so many conflicting do's and don't's that we really are not sure if he is doing right or wrong, we went on a short course to learn more about it, but, came away even more confused, so, I am not at all surprised many people are not managing theirs very well. The food being produced now is laden with sugars so its hardly surprising diabetes is on the rise. I discovered from the course we went on that a normal tablet of jelly actually has the equivilant of 31 sugar cubes in it!

    Report this comment

    Lynda

    Monday, April 8, 2013

  • I have had type 1 diabetes for 42 years, getting it when I was 13 months old. Most of the undiagnosed diabetics would be type 2 which is caused by lack of exercise, poor diets and hereditary issues. Yes the food manufacturers do have a lot to blame for, poor ingredients, to much salt, to much sugar just to make more profits. Try using non processed ingredients and cook for several nights eating in one go, it saves time.

    Report this comment

    dr.zack

    Monday, April 8, 2013

  • wot a nugget ggj666.

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    dr.zack

    Monday, April 8, 2013

  • Public health provision for Norfolk will soon become the responsibility of Norfolk County Council so the issue of high obesity rates is one for the local electorate has to decide but it very much Daniel in the lion's den stuff in a county which is probably one of the biggest producers of sugar in the country and lots of jobs too.Those in public health and those in the sugar industry need a very long talk because the diet has to change from high sugar to little sugar(not including honey!).

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Tuesday, April 9, 2013

  • Police Commissioner : a cheap and disingenuous comment.

    Report this comment

    Steve Delagrange

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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