AROUND one in 11 adults in Wales could be living with diabetes by 2035 if current trends continue, according to a new analysis by Public Health Wales.

This would be an additional 48,000 people with the condition, and a 22 per cent increase on 2021/22.

An increase of this magnitude would put significant additional pressure on health services.

Diabetes-related hospital visits cost the Welsh NHS an average of £4,518 in 2021/22, not including admissions requiring amputations, with £105 million spent on diabetes drugs last year.

Around 90 per cent of people in Wales with diabetes have type 2, over half of which could be prevented with behavioural changes.

Public Health Wales leads the All Wales Diabetes Prevention Programme, which is funded by the Welsh Government and delivered locally by dedicated trained healthcare support workers and dietetic leads working in primary care.

The programme supports people at higher risk of type 2 diabetes to make healthy changes to their lifestyle.

People are identified as being at risk through a blood test, called an HbA1c test, which measures a person’s average blood sugar (glucose) levels over the last two to three months.

Eligible people in areas where the programme is being rolled-out are referred to a healthcare support worker who will support them with ways to reduce their risk of developing type 2 and refer them to additional sources if required.

Since the All Wales Diabetes Prevention Programme launched in June 2022 it has offered support to more than 3,000 people across Wales.

Consultant in public health for Public Health Wales Dr Amrita Jesurasa said: “There has been a 40 per cent increase in the number of people living with diabetes in Wales in just over the last 10 years - an increase of 60,000 people.

“The increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes is therefore very concerning for the health and wellbeing of the people of Wales, as well as recognising the extra pressure this puts on health services.

“But the good news is that by supporting people to make behaviour changes, over half of type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented.”

She concluded: “The independent process evaluation of the programme showed that nearly half of those who attended an appointment with us and completed a survey were unaware they were at risk of developing type 2 diabetes before receiving information about the programme.

“That is why it’s so important for people to find out their level of risk for developing type 2 diabetes.”