The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has increased by over 100,000 in the past year, GP figures show.
Many people are unaware that they have diabetes
Diabetes prevalence jumped from 3.3% to 3.6% or from 1,766,000 to over 1,890,000 in just one year, the government's Information Centre found.
The figures, taken to calculate GP performance and pay, also show large regional variations.
Birmingham and the Black Country and North East London have the highest rates at 4.1% of their populations.
The lowest rates are in the Thames Valley area with only 2.9% of the population diagnosed with diabetes.
Part of the rise might be explained by better detection of diabetes, but experts warn that more and more people are developing diabetes and that many have yet to be diagnosed.
Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "Up to 750,000 people have diabetes and are not aware of it.
"This means that thousands of people are going about their daily lives unaware they have a condition that reduces their life expectancy."
Diabetes can lead to blindness, kidney failure, heart disease, stroke and nerve damage that can cause amputation.
DIABETES HOT SPOTS
Birmingham and the Black Country
North East London
Northumberland, Tyne & Wear
He added: "These figures show that diabetes is one of the main health challenges facing us today and the problem is getting worse all the time."
Similarly, the number of people diagnosed with high blood pressure also increased - from 11.3% to 12% or about 5,973,000 to 6,365,000.
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of the Blood Pressure Association, said: "These figures illustrate the fact that the UK is now leading the world in taking the treatment of high blood pressure seriously.
"GPs are being mobilised to seek out high blood pressure and, with patient participation, to treat it more effectively."