Five million 'at risk of diabetes'

Type 2 diabetes costs Britain's NHS billions of pounds each year (AFP Photo/Sajjad Hussain)

London (AFP) - Five million people in England are at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity, a health authority said on Wednesday.

The report by Public Health England (PHE) found more than one in ten adults have high blood sugar levels.

Known as non-diabetic hyperglycaemia, the condition could lead to the development of Type 2 diabetes, which affects 2.9 million people in England.

"Having high blood glucose levels significantly increases your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, which… can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, amputations and stroke, and ultimately early death," said Barbara Young, head of charity Diabetes UK.

The PHE said a prevention programme due to be launched next year would help people reduce their risk by losing weight, exercising and eating healthily.

Type 2 diabetes is thought to lead to 22,000 early deaths each year, costing the National Health Service about £8.8 billion.

"This is why it is really important that people at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes are given evidence-based support to reduce their risk," Young said.

"The NHS spends 10% of its entire budget managing diabetes and unless we get better at preventing Type 2 diabetes, this figure will rise to unsustainable levels."

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