Around one in twenty people in the UK has diabetes, with around 145,000 new cases diagnosed in the past year, according to figures published by Diabetes UK in October 2009.
The data was compiled from GP practices and reveals that 2.6 million people now suffer from the condition, and around 90% of these have diabetes type II, which is linked to obesity on many occasions.
Diabetes UK warned that the increasing number of cases is putting a strain on the NHS, as diabetes already costs the health service £1 million an hour to treat. Also, diabetes can lead to more serious conditions such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness.
Furthermore, it is estimated that around half a million people in the UK have the condition but have not been diagnosed, as the condition can remain undetected for around 10 years. Therefore, many of these may already have complications by the time they are diagnosed.
The rise in cases of diabetes is known to be linked to rising levels of obesity, which is a factor in around 80% of cases of type II diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
Further reading - A detailed analysis of the UK pharmaceutical market is available from Espicom: The Pharmaceutical Market: United Kingdom (published September 2009)