Diabetes Mellitus


Content last reviewed: 6 October 2015

Diabetes Mellitus, one of the most common endocrine diseases affecting all age groups, is one of biggest healthcare challenges faced by the NHS.  It is a group of disorders with a number of common features characterised by raised blood glucose.  In England the two most common types of diabetes are:

  • Type 1: the pancreas makes no insulin and often develops before the age of 40, usually during the teenage years but can develop at any age
  • Type 2: develops when the body does not make enough insulin or the tissues become insulin insensitivity (ie resistant to its effects) and does not work properly.  This is usually caused by excess body weight or obesity.  It is aggravated by inactivity and usually affects people over the age of 40, although younger people are increasingly being affected.  The greatest cause of mortality for people with Type 2 diabetes is cardiovascular disease. 
  • People are more at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes if they are:
    • overweight or obese
    • from a family where others have diabetes
    • over the age of 40
    • inactive
    • of African or South Asian origin

Almost one in 70 people in the UK are living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes.  It can lead to long-term complications including eye problems, kidney disease, foot ulcers and cardiovascular disease.

In addition to the personal cost to individuals, families and communities, Type 2 diabetes is estimated to account for at least 5% of UK healthcare expenditure and account for about 7% of the total NHS drugs budget.

According to Longer Lives, 2015, Central Bedfordshire had significantly worse results for blood pressure control, cholesterol control and meeting treatment targets compared with 16 similar local authorities.  These poor results are in general agreement with other indicators in this report.


Last updated Friday, 22nd April 2016