One in ten over 40s in the UK living with diabetes

Diabetes affects over 290,000 people in Scotland.
Diabetes affects over 290,000 people in Scotland.
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One in ten adults over the age of 40 in the UK is living with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, analysis suggests.

One in ten adults over the age of 40 in the UK is living with a Type 2 diabetes diagnosis, analysis suggests.

Millions of cases could be avoided if people understood their risk of developing the largely preventable condition, Diabetes UK said.

The charity, which carried out the research, estimates 3.8 million people in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have a diabetes diagnosis.

Around 90 per cent are believed to be Type 2, which can be linked to excessive weight and obesity.

Nearly a million more people are estimated to be living with Type 2 but do not know they have it, Diabetes UK said.

By 2030, it estimates the number of people with diabetes will have risen to 5.5 million.

“Millions of Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented if we help people understand their risk and how to reduce it,” said Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK.

“Even though the older people get the more likely they are to have Type 2 diabetes, it is never too early to know your risk so that you can make changes to prevent or delay it.

“The signs of Type 2 diabetes are often not obvious, that’s why spotting them early can be life-changing.

“Early diagnosis means that fewer people will experience diabetes-related complications such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease, because they could seek support to manage their condition effectively as soon as possible.”

Symptoms of Type 2 diabetes include feeling thirsty, going to the toilet frequently, and feeling more tired than usual.

Diabetes UK is urging people over the age of 40 to go for a free NHS Health Check when they are invited, and to check their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes using the charity’s online tool.

A separate study yesterday found people with diabetes are a third more likely to experience lower back pain.

Researchers also found a 24 per cent higher risk of pain in the neck – but called for more research to understand how this is caused.

They recommended doctors should consider screening for unknown diabetes in patients seeking care for neck pain or lower back pain.

The University of Sydney review scoured through previous studies and discovered a clear link between diabetes and body pain, with a 35 per cent increased risk of pain with diabetes.

But senior author Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira, from the university’s Institute of Bone and Joint Research, called for more research.

She said: “Diabetes and low back pain and neck pain seem to be somehow connected. We can’t say how but these findings suggest further research into the link is warranted. Type 2 diabetes and low back pain both have a strong relationship with obesity and lack of physical activity, so a logical progression of this research might be to examine these factors in more detail.

“Our analysis adds to the evidence that weight control and physical activity play fundamental roles in health maintenance.”