Around two million people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes are also overweight or obese.
The rapid increase in the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and obesity, coined by experts as ‘diabesity’, has led to diabesity being recognised as an epidemic in Europe.
A new survey of 1,001 people with Type 2 diabetes and obesity, funded by Bristol Myers-Squibb and AstraZeneca, highlights the extent of the struggle that they face with their weight.
This survey reveals that the majority of respondents report that their weight impacts their wellbeing, with 41 per cent saying it prevented them from playing sports or exercising in general and 18.9 per cent from having a sexual relationship.
Around eight in ten respondents are not happy with their weight, with almost half having tried up to three diets to lose weight since they were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and over 80 per cent worrying about how putting on weight may affect their future health.
“We are facing a diabesity crisis and ultimately, treating diabetes without addressing weight loss is futile,” explains Professor David Haslam, GP and Chair of the National Obesity Forum. “This survey highlights that patients should work with their healthcare professionals to have meaningful conversations about why it’s hard to lose the excess pounds so they can bring their diabetes under control and help to avoid some serious potential health problems in the future. It’s not about the length of discussions but the depth and quality of them,” said Professor Haslam.
Type 2 diabetes currently affects around 2.6 million people in the UK, with recent estimates showing the NHS spends £1 million every hour (10% of its budget) treating diabetes and its complications. Poorly-controlled Type 2 diabetes is associated with long-term complications that affect almost every part of the body and can lead to, blindness, heart disease and stroke. As Type 2 diabetes epidemic is fuelled by the rapidly rising incidence of obesity, it is predicted that by 2030, the number of people in the UK with Type 2 diabetes will rise to 5.5 million.
“This survey suggests that we are not doing enough to support people with Type 2 diabetes in achieving weight loss,” explains Gwen Hall, Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Surrey. “Type 2 diabetes and obesity place a significant burden not only on the individual but on NHS costs. It is essential that we tackle this as a public health issue and halt the diabetes and obesity epidemics. It is crucial that people with Type 2 diabetes are involved in regular screening, education and involvement in self care measures to help improve their quality of life and prevent future complications,” said Gwen.
While Type 2 diabetes commonly develops in people who are overweight, there are other risk factors associated with the condition, which include having a large waist, being over the age of 40, having a family history of the condition or being from Black, Asian or minority ethnic communities.