Growth of preventable cases of diabetes threaten the health service

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The number of people in London suffering from diabetes will rocket by 40% over the next 20 years, according to forecasts from Public Health England.

Its figures show that in 2016 there are 638,000 people over 16 with diabetes. But rising rates coupled with a growing population means that this will go up by more than a quarter of million to 895,000 by 2035.

PHE says that around 90% of the new cases will be Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle factors and linked to obesity. It says these cases are preventable and tackling the problem is fundamental to the future of the health service.

John Newton of Public Health England said: “Developing diabetes in not an inevitable part of ageing.  We have the opportunity through public health to reverse this trend and safeguard the health of the nation and the future of the NHS.”

The PHE forecasts reveals a wide discrepancy in rates across the capital.  Brent has the highest rate of diabetes not only in London but in England with 11.5% of people with the condition today.  Kingston has the lowest rate in England at 6.7%.

The highest rates after Brent are in Harrow, Redbridge and Ealing. The lowest, apart from  Kingston, are in Richmond, Wandsworth and Islington.

Diabetes rate 2016

Both Brent and Kingston will retain their positions as the boroughs with the highest and lowest rates in England by 2035.  The rate in Brent will climb to 13.6% of the population.

The record in Ealing, Harrow and Redbridge will remain poor and Newham will be second only to Brent with a rate of 12.7%.

Kingston’s rate will rise to 7.6%, with neighbouring Richmond, plus Wandsworth and Islington remaining among the areas with lowest rates.

Diabetes 2035

The data shows a worsening situation throughout London over the next two decades.  Today there are seven boroughs where the prevalence of diabetes in the population is above 10%. By 2035 the rate is forecast to be one in ten or higher in 17 areas.

The biggest change in the rate of the condition between 2016 and 2035 is forecast to be in Tower Hamlets where the rate will go up by 24%.  The borough is also expected to see the biggest growth in population in the coming decades, as reported by Urbs. The combination of these factors will place severe pressure on local health services.

Diabetes is caused by the inability of the body to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. It is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Sufferers may also develop kidney disease and foot ulcers, which can lead to amputation.

Source data

More diabetes stories

See also

Sportiest Londoners live in the wealthier south west boroughs

How the obesity rate doubled for the class of 2007

Size matters – and it depends where you live