Obesity causing diabetes rates that will "put strain" on NHS
AN obesity epidemic which shows no sign of abating will result in more than 700,000 people in Great Britain being diagnosed with diabetes in the next eight years, it has been claimed.
The number of diabetics in the UK is expected to reach 4.4 million by 2020 says charity Diabetes UK, placing "significant financial strain" on the NHS.
Health bosses in Gloucestershire say they are seeing a rise in the number of younger people getting both type one and type two forms of diabetes. They are calling for more people to adopt healthier lifestyles to reduce obesity and the risk of diabetes. Sarah Brown a spokeswoman for Gloucestershire Hospitals Trust , said: "We have seen a rise in the number of people in their 20s and 30s getting both type one and two forms of the disease. Type two diabetes is the commonest form of diabetes and is related to being overweight. The rise in obesity in the population is a concern because more people will develop diabetes at a younger age and have it for much longer than people used to.
"There is a big link between a person's lifestyle and type two diabetes, which develops when the body does not make enough insulin. The condition can cause blindness, kidney failure, stroke and amputation.
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"We are taking wide-ranging action to tackle diabetes in the county. By raising awareness of the condition and encouraging healthier lifestyles, we aim to reduce the levels of obesity and so reduce the number of people developing diabetes."
Experienced diabetes teams in Gloucestershire help patients manage their condition, but it is the long term financial cost of increased levels of diabetes which is of particular worry to hospitals.
Diabetes UK, which published the worrying projections for the disease, believes the expected rise will put 'a significant financial stain' on the NHS which currently spends around 10 per cent of its budget on treating people with diabetes.
The charity's chief executive, Barbara Young, believes a combination of diabetes and NHS budget pressures could create a "perfect storm that threatens to bankrupt the NHS".
She said: "If this projected increase becomes reality, it would be a calamity for the healthcare system and a disaster for public health."