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Men more likely to be diagnosed as diabetes tops three million

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK has reached three million for the first time – and men get it more easily. 

Since middle-aged men particularly are at a higher risk of developing diabetes than women, the figures from the new research by Diabetes UK should be a warning sign for British men.

A new analysis carried out by Diabetes UK in collaboration with Tesco found that 4.6% of the UK’s population are affected by Type 2 diabetes, a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood.

According to the study, the number of people suffering from the condition has increased by 132,000 during the last year and it is estimated that a further 850,000 have undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.

Researchers from research institutes including the Scottish Diabetes Research Network Epidemiology Group at University of Glasgow suggest in a report published in 2011 in Diabetologia that men are more easily affected by Type 2 diabetes.

Middle-aged men at higher risk

diabetes symptoms

The condition is more common among middle-aged men of European descent since they are diagnosed with diabetes at a lower body-mass index than women.

Whilst multiple factors such as age and family history influence the risk of getting diabetes, the major indicator is overweight. Men, however, have to gain less weight to develop the condition, partly because they are generally more insulin resistant than women, as the study reveals.

Barbara Young, Chief Executive of Diabetes UK said: ‘We are hugely concerned that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes has reached three million for the first time and there is no reason to think this will mark the end of what has been a rapid rise in the condition.’

Burden for the NHS

Every year 24,000 people in England and Wales with diabetes die earlier than expected. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke. The rising number of people affected ‘is already putting huge pressure on the NHS and will have potentially devastating consequences for those people who develop the condition’, as Young puts it.

She recommends early identification of people at high risk of developing the condition and increased care and support for patients of Type 2 diabetes. Tesco’s national partnership with Diabetes UK funds the biggest ever public awareness campaign on Type 2 diabetes risk factors, research into a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes and hopes to raise £10 million to support people with the condition as well as the estimated 7 million people at high risk.


Page created on March 13th, 2013

Page updated on April 15th, 2013