1. ITV Report

Tonight: The Diabetes Epidemic

Over three million people in Britain have type 2 diabetes – it’s often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because the damage it does can stay hidden for years.

Diabetes is often referred to as the 'silent killer'. Credit: ITV / Tonight

The number of people being diagnosed is rising fast and it’s estimated that five and a half million people will have it in ten years’ time.

In ‘The Diabetes Epidemic’ Tonight teams up with Diabetes UK to give people across the country free diabetes health checks.

People across the UK receive free diabetes health checks. Credit: ITV / Tonight

We assessed people over two days and found that

  • 40 per cent had a family member with diabetes.
  • Nearly 80 per cent had waist sizes that increased their risk of getting type 2.
  • 70 per cent of people were at increased or moderate risk of getting type 2 diabetes.
  • 15 per cent were classed as high risk – giving them a 1 in 3 chance of getting it.
Jonathan Maitland receives his diabetes health check. Credit: ITV / Tonight

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of blindness, strokes, kidney failure and amputations in Britain and costs the NHS £10 billion a year to treat.

80 per cent of all diabetes-related amputations are preventable, yet it’s still estimated that 7,000 of them could take place next year.

Tonight meets one man from Blackburn who had to have his left leg amputated below the knee two years ago. He’s been battling to save the other one ever since.

It's estimated there will be 7000 diabetes-related amputations next year. Credit: ITV / Tonight

It’s also estimated that 24,000 diabetes-related deaths a year could be avoided, with the right care and support.

Tonight meets a woman from Essex whose husband died from type 2 diabetes-related complications, after a twenty-year struggle with the disease.

We also travel to Newcastle University, where Researchers have shown that drastically reducing a person’s fat levels – by putting them on a low-calorie diet for just eight weeks – can actually REVERSE type 2 diabetes. But it’s not an approach that will work for everyone.

An MRI scan at Newcastle University. Credit: ITV / Tonight

Type 2 diabetes may be known as the silent killer, but it needn’t be because it’s entirely preventable IF we take action early enough. For more information about where to find help and support with the disease, please click on the links below: