Obesity isn’t the only reason type 2 diabetes triples in U.K.

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The UK has seen a dramatic increase in type 2 diabetes over the last two decades. The number of people with the disease has tripled, according to a new study that links the increase to more obesity and to better diagnosis.

“The number of people with type 2 diabetes in the UK has gone from 700,000 to around 2.8 million over two decades, and it continues to increase,” says Professor Craig Currie from Cardiff University’s School of Medicine.

The new findings, based on data collected by GP services in the UK between 1991 and 2014, also show a marked increase in life expectancy for people with the disease, explaining in part its increased prevalence.

The increased number of people with the disease has also been linked to better diagnosis and rising levels of obesity; between 1993 and 2010 the proportion of obese people in the UK went from 13 percent to 26 percent for men and from 16 percent to 26 percent for women.

“We are also seeing increased life expectancy from the disease, which could be due to earlier diagnosis of the condition as well as drugs such as blood pressure tablets and statins for blood cholesterol,” says Currie.

Diabetes could cause up to 12% of U.S. deaths

The data, published in Diabetic Medicine, also reveal that the prevalence of diagnosed type 2 diabetes increased with age, although this increase is lower in people aged 80 years and above. The disease prevalence was also generally higher in men than in women above the age of 40 years. Below the age of 40 it was similar.

Around 4.5 million people live with diabetes in the UK, with more than 90 percent of those affected having type 2 diabetes.

Collaborators are from the University Hospital of Walesand Rudolfstiftung Hospital Vienna.

Source: Cardiff University