More than one in 10 deaths among 20 to 79-year-olds in England can be attributed to diabetes, warns Diabetes UK.
If current trends continue, one in eight deaths among 20 to 79-year-olds will be attributable to the condition by 2010.
This work is based on data that shows adults under 80 with diabetes are around twice as likely to die as those without the condition and women with diabetes have a greater increased risk of death compared to their male counterparts.
The percentage of diabetes-attributable deaths varied at primary care trust (PCT) level from 9% in Buckinghamshire to 17% in Newham, East London.
PCTs with the highest percentage of diabetes-attributable deaths are areas with a higher than average proportion of the population under 40 and where there are large numbers of over-40s of Asian and black origin, who are at greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These areas also have high levels of deprivation compared to PCTs with the lowest proportion of deaths.
Douglas Smallwood, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: "These new figures are truly alarming and confirm that diabetes is one of the biggest health challenges facing the UK today.
"Good self-management, awareness and improved access to specialist diabetes care services are crucial if we are to curb this growing health crisis and see a reduction in the number of people dying from diabetes and complications attributed to the condition."