21 Eye-Opening UK Diabetes Statistics You Must Know in 2023
Time to read 11 min
Time to read 11 min
With five million people in the UK living with diabetes, there's no better time than now to learn about this disease. Knowledge is power and can help you have more fruitful conversations with your doctor or learn diabetes management.
This collection of 21 diabetes statistics is designed to inform and educate you so you can make healthier choices for a better quality of life.
Five million cases of diabetes in the UK might not seem like much, considering the United States has 37.3 million cases (11 percent of its population). Still, it's the beginning of a startling trend.
Diabetes cases continue upward in the UK, with The British Medical Journal (BMJ) calling it "a rapidly escalating diabetes crisis."
More UK patients are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes before turning 40, one of the most common risk factors for kidney, eye, and heart disease and stroke.
The news gets bleaker still, as Diabetes UK predicts that 855,000 people in the UK have diabetes but haven't received a diagnosis yet.
Many reasons can prevent someone from receiving a diabetes diagnosis. They might not have a primary doctor or any direct line to healthcare. Others perhaps can't afford to see a doctor, so it's easier to avoid going. Some may have a phobia of the doctor and put off appointments despite having symptoms.
However, this is a major gamble. Diabetes UK notes that diabetes causes 2,300 instances of heart failure, 590 heart attacks, 770+ strokes, and 184 amputations weekly.
We live in an age where medical information and studies are more readily available than ever. With so much knowledge at our fingertips, what has caused the rise in diabetes cases across the UK?
According to Diabetes.org, part of it is due to social deprivation. Diabetics who live in poor areas have less access to premium diabetes care, healthy food, and medical support. These people often find themselves unable to manage and regulate their disease.
What causes diabetes? The weight increase of the general UK populace has played a major factor in diabetes cases across the country. Diabetes UK states that 64 per cent of the UK is overweight, which is one of the factors that can cause Type 2 diabetes. The others are ethnicity, family history, and age.
However, the weight gain trend is hardly unique to the UK. More countries worldwide have wrestled with obesity in the past 30 years, says Medical News Today.
More than 60 per cent of the reported obesity cases occur in developed countries, such as the US, Indonesia, Pakistan, Germany, Egypt, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, and China.
Diabetes is incurable, so an early diagnosis of Type 1 or Type 2 is life-altering. You must begin monitoring your blood glucose with a blood sugar chart. This isn't something you only do once per day, but between four and 10 times.
As you understand how your diabetes reacts to your diet, medications, and other triggers, you can perhaps reduce your testing frequency, but you must still test a few times daily.
According to the UK diabetes resource Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) UK, the average person with Type 1 diabetes in the country will measure their blood sugar over 80,000 times across their lifetime.
Another fascinating stat from JDRF concerns how many times a person with Type 1 diabetes must inject themselves with insulin. The organization's data reports that the lifetime rate of insulin injections for diabetics is over 65,000 times.
Insulin injections are painful but necessary, and while even those with needle phobias get over their fears if they inject themselves enough, the pain never becomes easier to withstand.
InsuJet is a needle-free way to receive insulin. An injection must pierce through the skin to release the insulin, but InsuJet releases jet-injected fluid to the skin. Once the liquid penetrates the skin, it spreads to ensure fast absorption.
In 2015, Public Health England released its Diabetes Prevalence model to understand an emerging public health trend.
According to the report, cases of diabetes in the UK will reach 4.9 million by 2035 (not including those that are still undiagnosed). However, the number was five million in 2023, meaning more than 9.7 percent of the UK population has diabetes.
The BMJ reports that one in 10 people in the UK could have diabetes by 2030, which is far direr than Public Health England's initial prediction in 2015.
There's a misconception that because Type 1 diabetes is frequently referred to as juvenile diabetes, it can only occur in children and adolescents. However, recent trends have proven that adults can get this diagnosis, too.
JDRF notes that about 50 percent of Type 1 diabetics in the UK who have recently been diagnosed are 18 and older.
Experts are uncertain what causes Type 1 diabetes, but it's believed to be a combination of virus exposure and genetics. With diabetes becoming more common in the nation, genetically, parents with the disease could pass it on to their offspring. Or could they?
Here's a confounding statistic courtesy of JDRF. Up to 85 percent of those in the UK diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes have no family members with the disease. That points toward environmental conditions like viruses, with perhaps the COVID-19 pandemic contributing.
Cases of Type 1 diabetes are almost as rampant in children as adults. According to JDRF data, instances of Type 1 in children under five increase by five percent yearly.
Data on the types of diabetes children in Wales and England were diagnosed with found that the overwhelming majority is type 1 diabetes, a whopping 96 percent of cases. About 29,000 children in the UK have this disease.
The global pandemic COVID-19 might have abated in 2023, but the UK has had approximately 22,241,779 cases. A 2023 report from Cedars Sinai in the US found that having had COVID and its variants boosts the chances of developing new-onset Type 2 diabetes.
Although this data originates from the US, the same trend could explain why Type 2 diabetes numbers have risen steadily in the UK over the 2020s. The analysis suggests that vaccinating against COVID-19 can reduce the risk of the populace developing diabetes as one of the complications of the virus.
Type 2 diabetes isn't juvenile, yet the age range of people living with diabetes across the UK skews younger. Wiley Diabetic Medicine, in an early 2023 report, found that 4.6 percent of English diabetics are under 40.
That's approximately 122,780 people of the 2,642,435 English diabetic study participants. What was the age breakdown for this group?
Here is more information about the study:
92 percent, or 112,975, were between 26 and 39 years old
6.7 percent, or 8,245, were between 19 and 25 years old
0.7 percent, or 910, were between 16 and 18 years old
0.5 percent or 650 were under 16
The data also found that obesity and social deprivation contributed to England's Type 2 diabetes problem, mirroring what's occurring across the UK.
Of the same sample of 2,642,435 people in England with Type 2 diabetes involved in the Wiley Diabetic Medicine study, many were Asian or Black. Here is the rate of minority diabetics in the study by age:
15 percent between 60 and 79 years old
27 percent between 40 and 59 years old
38 percent between 26 and 39 years old
38 percent between 19 and 25 years old
41 percent between 16 and 19 years old
51 per cent under 16
The Wiley Diabetic Medicine data brought up another fascinating point: that of its study sample, women in England were found to have a higher rate of Type 2 diabetes than men. However, this only persisted in groups younger than 25.
Comparing the rate of diabetes in men and women between the ages of 26 and 39, the two genders shared equal diagnoses.
What about the rate of Type 2 diabetes in study participants over the age of 39? The data in the Wiley Diabetic Medicine study then flips on its head.
The sample saw an increased instance of Type 2 diabetes in men over 40 compared to women. Only 41 percent of women aged 40 to 59 were diagnosed with diabetes.
This trend runs deeper, as 43 percent of women between 60 and 71 had Type 2 diabetes, per the data.
Knowing the connection between diabetes and obesity makes it worth studying more closely. That's precisely what the researchers with Wiley Diabetic Medicine did.
According to the data of its sample of the English population with Type 2 diabetes, a high BMI steadily decreased with age.
Seventy-eight percent of Type 2 diabetics under 16 were obese, followed by 65 percent in the 16-to-18 age group. Many diabetics in the 19-to-25 range, 57 percent, were obese.
At 58 percent, as many 26-to-39-year-olds were obese. The number drops to 55 percent for those diabetics 40 to 59 years old, then 47 percent for participants aged 60 to 79.
Those are still high rates of obesity, but 58 percent of the study participants under 40 were obese versus 50 percent between 48 and 79 years old.
Losing weight will help with diabetes management but not cure it. Weight loss is also more common in older adults, with US resource Stellis Health stating that about 25 percent of older adults lose weight unexpectedly.
Weight loss can be linked to factors like reduced appetite, an inability to cook for oneself, medication side effects, depression and anxiety, and diseases and medical conditions. However, there isn't always an identifiable cause for this weight loss.
According to the Lancashire government, Lancashire-12 has a 7.3 percent rate of diabetes, which is the same rate of diabetics across England.
The area covers 12 districts: Wyre, West Lancashire, South Ribble, Rossendale, Ribble Valley, Preston, Lancaster, Hyndburn, Fylde, Chorley, and Burnley.
However, when you break this data down by the number of diabetic children, it displays differently. The Lancashire government website reports that the rate of diabetes in children living in Lancashire-12 is substantially higher than in the rest of England as of 2022.
Up to 75.5 percent of 10,000 children are diabetics in Lancashire-12 versus 58 percent in England. The Lancashire government considers children any person under 19, so it's a broad definition.
To focus further on Lancashire-12, the two areas with the highest diabetes prevalence in children are Blackpool and Blackburn with Darwen.
In children 17 and up, Blackpool reported 8.6 percent of its population as diabetic in 2022, and Blackburn with Darwen up to nine percent.
Circling back to the future of diabetes in the UK, Diabetes UK reports that over 2.4 million people are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes as the 2020s roll on.
That would blow up the figures to over seven million cases of diabetes in the UK.
Charities and organizations are pushing hard for the UK government to lead and take the initiative to roll out diabetes prevention measures to keep more of the population from developing Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes is a growing endemic in the UK with life-altering effects, as these diabetes statistics have proven. Understanding where diabetes stems from and its future trajectory in the UK can help people make healthier decisions now.
If you've been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, you don't have to deal with painful finger pricking several times daily. The InsuJet V5 needle-free injector can deliver an insulin dose between four and 50 units in a variable range, with the option to increase the dose by one unit incrementally. One injector is good for 5,000 injections.
The InsuJet V5 is a safe and effective way to keep diabetes in check. If you are living with diabetes, talk to your doctor about the InsuJet as a pain-free option to manage your disease.