Page last updated at 10:01 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 11:01 UK

Warning over diabetes 'timebomb'

Insulin injection
The number of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow

More than 600,000 Scots could have a "ticking timebomb" condition which puts them at far greater risk of developing diabetes, a charity has warned.

Diabetes UK estimated that 620,000 people - about one in 10 of the population - could have pre-diabetes.

The condition makes them up to 15 times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes.

The charity said that people with pre-diabetes have blood glucose levels higher than normal and are also mostly obese or overweight, the charity said.

Diabetes is caused by too much glucose or sugar in the blood.

It's time for all of us to get serious about our health if we want to have any chance of defusing the ticking time bomb of Type 2 diabetes
Jane-Claire Judson
Diabetes UK Scotland

The Diabetes UK report was released to coincide with the launch of the charity's Get Serious campaign, which aims to get as many people as possible to pledge to make healthy lifestyle changes, raise funds, campaign or volunteer for the charity.

Jane-Claire Judson, the national director of Diabetes UK Scotland, said: "It's staggering that over 600,000 people in Scotland have pre-diabetes, which is often a precursor to Type 2 diabetes, a serious condition which can lead to long-term complications such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, amputation and blindness.

"Identifying and educating people with pre-diabetes is vital as it's not too late for many to make healthy lifestyle changes, reverse the condition completely and reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

"Scottish government statistics show that the numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes continues to grow. 219,463 people now have diabetes in Scotland, an increase of over 10,000 from 2007.

"It's time for all of us to get serious about our health if we want to have any chance of defusing the ticking timebomb of Type 2 diabetes."

Physical activity

Type 2 diabetes occurs when not enough of the hormone insulin is produced by the body for it to control the correct amount of glucose in the blood.

It also occurs when the body's cells do not react to insulin.

The charity said pre-diabetes - which is also known as impaired glucose regulation - can often be reversed, cutting the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 60%, by losing even just a "moderate amount of weight", adopting a healthy, balanced diet and increasing physical activity.

Diabetes UK Scotland also called for a commitment from the Scottish government for diabetes screening programmes as part of an extension of the Keep Well programme.

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