Millions at risk as type 2 diabetes ‘time bomb’ set to explode, experts warn

ALMOST 2.5million diabetics in England did not get proper treatment during lockdown – lighting the fuse of a care “time bomb”, a charity claims.

Diabetes UK says millions of patients did not get vital check-ups and tens of thousands of diagnoses were missed when non-essential services were suspended.

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The charity is asking new Health Secretary Sajid Javid to invest millions more in the condition, suffered by five million Brits with 13.6million more at risk of developing it.

Chris Askew OBE, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “We’re sitting on a diabetes timebomb, a rapidly growing crisis for diabetes care.

“We are urgently calling on the Government to put people living with diabetes at the heart of its post-pandemic health agenda.  

“Healthcare professionals are working incredibly hard to clear the backlog of missed and cancelled routine health checks, consultations and referrals.

“But they are working with limited resources and missed appointments or delayed diagnoses can devastate lives.”

Last year, 2.26million people with type 2 diabetes and more than 200,000 with type 1 did not have their usual consultations.

One in three had appointments cancelled that have still not taken place, and almost half reported difficulties managing their diabetes due to lack of support.

One in three people who died in England during the first wave of the pandemic had diabetes.

In May, Diabetes UK reported that cases of diabetes had hit an all-time high, and that diagnoses have doubled in the last 15 years.

It comes after one in four new cases of type 2 diabetes were missed by GPs last year despite Brits piling on the pounds over lockdown.

The condition – which costs the NHS £10 billion annually – is closely linked to excess weight and poor lifestyle.

Around 254,000 Brits are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes on a normal year.

But a Manchester University study has found at least 60,000 cases have not been picked up since the start of the Covid pandemic.

It comes despite a fifth of adults gaining five or more pounds since the first lockdown – further fuelling numbers with the condition.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body loses the ability to process sugar, mainly as a result of obesity.

It is a leading cause of blindness, amputation, stroke and heart disease.

Experts warn the major drop in diagnosis rates means the NHS now faces a “huge backlog” of patients.

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