The number of people affected by diabetes in the UK has surpassed four million, according figures from Diabetes UK. There are also an estimated 549,000 people with undiagnosed type-2 diabetes.
The charity has reportedly based its analysis on data accumulated from 2014-15 GP patient data. Diabetes UK believes there has been a 65% increase in the number of people affected by the condition in the past decade.
The charity's chief executive, Chris Askew said there was a very real and critical need to address the issue of the widespread growth of diabetes in the country. Many patients have died "before their time" due to a lack of awareness and poor health care services, he said. "We know that key reasons for this are that they are being denied both the care and access to education that would help them to manage their condition well."
The National Audit Office recently made an investigation into the NHS and criticised the standards of care provided for diabetes patients. Diabetes UK claims that if drastic steps are not taken soon to remedy this matter, more people are likely to suffer from diabetes-related health complications such as blindness, kidney failure and amputation.
Since complications related to diabetes are believed to be preventable with proper care and awareness, the charity believes that provisions should be made for better health care.
Melanie Davies, professor of diabetes medicine at the University of Leicester said that the four million figure was "not surprising but rather alarming". Davies suggested public health instructions from childhood to tackle the issue. This would result in increasing awareness about the disease and encourage youngsters to make healthier lifestyle choices.
"Tackling obesity and diabetes is one of the biggest healthcare challenges of our time and the numbers with type 2 diabetes are rising. That's why the NHS diabetes prevention programme is crucial," the NHS's national clinical director for obesity and diabetes, Professor Jonathan Valabhji was quoted as saying by the Guardian.
The NHS programme is already underway. Valabhji claims that up to 100,000 people, who would be offered extensive health care and support to avoid developing type-2 diabetes, would benefit from it.