One in ten patients admitted to hospital are suffering from a form of diabetes linked to being overweight and inactive.The scale of the growing crisis was laid bare last night as it was revealed hospitals are being deluged with 5,000 type 2 diabetes patients every day.It is taking an unprecedented toll on the under-pressure NHS, with doctors now seeing children aged under nine who need help.
GP leaders also warned that some patients need up to 200 health appointments a year to deal with their condition.More than 1.7million people with type 2 diabetes were admitted to hospitals last year, costing the NHS an estimated £22million a day. The figure has doubled in a decade and last night the head of the NHS warned: ‘Our ever-expanding waistlines are taking a growing toll.’Simon Stevens warned the ‘alarming rise’ in admissions across the board was putting ‘avoidable pressure’ on our hospitals.
The illness appears to be having a worrying impact on younger women, according to the latest data from NHS Digital. Two thirds of the type 2 diabetes admissions for the under-40s last year involved female patients and there is evidence they are more susceptible to complications.The data only covers those patients with type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to being overweight and inactive – and largely preventable. The reason the illness is so burdensome for the NHS is its devastating complications, which include heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure and amputations.The figures show there were 4,992 admissions for women aged 20 to 29 in 2018/19, compared with 1,755 for men.
Similarly, there were 16,707 admissions for women aged 30 to 39 compared with 10,207 for men. Overall women accounted for 65 per cent of the 34,601 admissions among the under-40s last year.Although type 2 diabetes is more common in men, research has shown women are more at risk of complications arising from it including heart disease, kidney disease as well as depression.Disturbingly, the figures also reveal there were 940 admissions involving children and teenagers aged 19 and under in 2018/19. This included 45 admissions for children aged nine or under – a shocking statistic for an illness once only seen in middle-aged adults.
Regardless of their age or sex, most patients diagnosed with type 2 diabetes will need to take medication and attend regular check-ups for the rest of their lives. Mr Stevens, chief executive of the NHS, said: ‘Our ever-expanding waistlines are taking a growing toll on our families’ health and on our NHS, with this alarming rise in admissions demonstrating the avoidable pressure it is putting on hospitals.
‘The NHS Long Term Plan is more than playing its part, with plans to prevent 200,000 people a year from developing type 2 diabetes, but wider society including supermarkets and retailers need to step up in the battle against the bulge.’
Caroline Cerny of the Obesity Health Alliance, a coalition of 40 organisations which are aiming to reduce obesity levels, said: ‘Obesity significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes and that’s why we need the Government to take strong action to protect children’s health, with comprehensive restrictions to curb the relentless marketing and promotion of junk food.’