Health charity highlights scale of diabetes 'crisis' in Wales

Blood sugar monitor Image copyright Thinkstock

More people in Wales are living with diabetes than ever before, with a health charity calling it a 'crisis'.

Figures released by Diabetes UK Cymru on Monday show 7.1% of people aged 17 and over in Wales are living with the condition - more than anywhere else in the UK.

This accounts for over 183,000 people, 6,000 up from this time last year.

The figures coincide with the launch of Diabetes Week (12-18 June), which hopes to raise awareness of diabetes.

It is forecast that by the end of Diabetes Week, 4,500 people in the UK will have been diagnosed with it.

As the number of people living with diabetes continues to grow, the charity is hoping to "highlight the many myths and misconceptions" which surround the "complex and often misunderstood condition."

Image copyright PA

A poll found more than half of the people asked were unaware that poorly managed diabetes can lead to complications such as heart attacks and strokes.

It also found that one in three people thought it was true that Type 1 diabetes was linked to being overweight, when in fact it is not linked to lifestyle whatsoever.

Type 1 diabetes

  • People with type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin
  • It is treated by daily insulin doses, either by injections or via an insulin pump

Type 2 diabetes

  • People with type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce does not work properly
  • It is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity

Diabetes UK Cymru's Director Dai Williams said they wanted to "set the record straight" and focus on the "realities of living with the condition."

"There is still a lack of understanding when it comes to people being aware of the seriousness of diabetes and this worries us at Diabetes UK," he said.

"There are now the highest ever number of people living with diabetes in Wales, over 183,000. That's 6,000 more people than were living with the condition during last year's Diabetes Week, which really highlights the current scale of the crisis."

In England, 6.37% of people aged 17 and over have diabetes, and 5.6% in Northern Ireland.

Scotland has the lowest amount at 4.8%, although that figure is calculated slightly differently as it is a percentage of the whole population.

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