Diabetes is a serious life-long health condition that occurs when the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly1. A major complication of diabetes is the increase in cardiovascular disease including heart attacks and stroke. Cardiovascular disease can be caused by narrowing of arteries through gradual build-up of fatty material within their walls2.

If left untreated, these conditions can cause serious health complications. These may include hypoglycaemia, hyperglycaemia (inducing coma), and deterioration of the eyes (retinopathy), heart (coronary heart disease, angina, heart attack), kidneys (nephropathy), nerves (neuropathy, sexual dysfunction), lower limbs (ulceration, amputation) and brain (stroke, dementia, depression).

The cost of diabetes to the NHS is over £1.5m an hour or 10% of the NHS budget for England and Wales. This equates to over £25,000 being spent on diabetes every minute. An estimated £10 billion is spent a year on treating diabetes and its complications, with in-patient costs estimated at two thirds of this2.

The UK prevalence of diabetes is estimated to rise to 5 million by 20252.

These trends are reflected worldwide.

1British Heart Foundation

2Diabetes UK