HIDDEN RISK Up to 1million Brits ‘living with undiagnosed but deadly type 2 diabetes’ – 11 little-known signs & risk factors

MORE than 1million Brits could be living with undiagnosed killer type 2 diabetes, a major study shows.

Seven per cent of adults in England showed evidence of the condition and three in 10 of those were undiagnosed, the first-of-its-kind Office for National Statistics analysis found.

More than 1million Brits could be living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, according to the ONS
More than 1million Brits could be living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, according to the ONSCredit: Getty

Experts said there was a “striking” proportion of Brits at risk of the illness, even “in those considered low risk”.

Nikki Joule, of Diabetes UK, said: “These figures reveal a shockingly high number of people living with diabetes without a diagnosis, while millions more are at high risk of developing it. 

“We’re particularly concerned about the worrying proportion of younger people who are undiagnosed, as we know type 2 diabetes is more aggressive in younger people.

“The findings are a reminder of just how important it is for type 2 diabetes to be detected and diagnosed as early as possible to reduce the risk of devastating complications.”

More than five million Brits are thought to be living with diabetes, with cases doubling in the last 15 years.

The NHS spends at least £10billion annually on the disease — around 10 per cent of its entire budget.

It causes blood sugar levels to become too high because of problems with how the body produces the hormone insulin, which breaks down glucose.

Diabetes UK has previously estimated around 850,000 Brits are living with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes, based on modelling by Public Health England in 2016.

The latest ONS figures come from analysing blood tests from 26,751 people in England from 2013 to 2019.

Some 50 per cent of people aged 16 to 44 were undiagnosed compared with 27 per cent aged 75 and over, statisticians said.

Katie Finning, of the ONS, said: “Some of the groups who were less likely to have type 2 diabetes were more likely to be undiagnosed if they did have the condition.

“These included younger adults and those generally in good health.

“Our analysis will provide valuable insight for health services and inform approaches to detection and intervention, and we hope it will also increase public awareness.”

Pre-diabetes surge

The figures also showed hat pre-diabetes, when blood sugars are higher than usual, but not high enough for a diabetes diagnosis, affects about 5.1million adults in England.

Those most likely to develop the condition had known diabetes risk factors such as being overweight or older.

However, the ONS said there was "considerable prevalence" in people considered at low risk of pre-diabetes.

These included 4 per cent of people aged 16 to 44 and 8 per cent who were not overweight or obese.

Those from black or Asian groups also faced more than double the risk of pre-diabetes at 22 per cent compared with 10 per cent of people from white, mixed and other ethnic groups.

Type 2 diabetes overall was higher among black and Asian people at 5 per cent.

11 little known signs and risk factors for type 2 diabetes

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:

1. peeing more than usual
2. feeling thirsty all the time
3. feeling very tired
4. losing weight without trying to
5. itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
6. cuts or wounds taking longer to heal
7. blurred vision

You're more at risk of developing type 2 diabetes if you:

8. are over 40 years old, or over 25 if you're from an Asian, Black African or Black Caribbean ethnic background
9. have a close relative with diabetes (such as a parent, brother or sister)
10. are overweight or living with obesity or are not very physically active
11. are from an Asian, Black African or Black Caribbean ethnic background

Source: The NHS

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