London, Aug 11 : Diabetes is linked to one in 10 deaths among the bulk of the population in England, according to new figures.
In most cases, the disease indirectly kills by leading to strokes, heart attacks or kidney failure.
Often it is not recorded on death certificates. For this reason the number of deaths attributable to diabetes has consistently been underestimated.
The new figures compiled by the charity Diabetes UK indicate that the disease is responsible for 11.6 percent of deaths among 20 to 79-year-olds in England.
They were calculated by combining research evidence, diabetes prevalence estimates and population and mortality data.
Adults under the age of 80 with diabetes were twice as likely to die as those without the condition, said the charity.
It predicted that if current trends continued, one in eight deaths in the same age group would be attributable to diabetes by 2010.
"There are 2.3 million people diagnosed with diabetes and over half a million don't know they have it," The Guardian quoted Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, as saying.
The vast majority of people with diabetes have the type 2 version of the disease, which is linked to unhealthy lifestyles and obesity.