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Prevention strategies for type 2 diabetes

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The number of people diagnosed with diabetes has now reached epidemic proportions.1 The problem is escalating so dramatically NICE has published guidelines on Preventing Type 2 Diabetes.2

The guidance focuses on identifying people, age 18 years and over, who are at high risk of type 2 diabetes and on offering them diet and lifestyle programmes aimed at preventing or delaying onset of the condition.

It has been devised for everyone who has a direct or indirect role in preventing or delaying the onset of type 2 diabetes and includes all health professionals including pharmacists, occupational health specialists and dentists as well as commissioners, local authorities and the wider public, private, voluntary and community sectors.

Epidemiology and aetiology
Currently, there are 2.9 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the UK; however, an estimated further 850,000 people are living with the condition but are not aware pf this, as they are yet to develop the classic signs and symptoms of diabetes (see box, below).

If the current trend continues, it is estimated that by 2025 the number of people with diabetes will increase to 5 million.1 This not only creates a huge economic burden for the NHS, but poorly controlled diabetes has also been found to reduce a person's life expectancy by six to 20 years.3

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