More than 200,000 people putting themselves at risk of Type 2 diabetes in Suffolk and Essex

PUBLISHED: 13:56 26 August 2015

More than 200,000 residents across Suffolk and Essex could be putting themselves at risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes.

More than 200,000 residents across Suffolk and Essex could be putting themselves at risk of contracting Type 2 diabetes.

PA Wire

Figures released by Public Health England today show that 12% of Suffolk’s population, and 11.8% in Essex, could soon be living with Type 2 diabetes.

Public Health England (PHE) has released a new report which, for the first time, estimates the number of people aged over 16 with high blood sugar levels - linked to Type 2 diabetes - per region. It shows that 73,290 people in Suffolk could be putting themselves at risk of the condition, which is also linked to obesity, lack of exercise and unhealthy diets.

In Essex, 11.8% of the population are estimated to have the condition, or 138,363 residents.

Type 2 diabetes is already estimated to cost the NHS nationally around £8.8bn each year, with 2.9m people living with the condition. People with diabetes are at a greater risk of a range of chronic health conditions including heart disease, stroke, blindness, amputation, kidney disease and depression and Type 2 it is thought to lead to 22,000 early deaths each year.

Next year, the NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme is being launched by PHE, focusing on healthy eating, exercise and weight loss, after a study found that encouraging weight loss and healthy living could prevent 26% of people with high blood sugar levels from developing Type 2 diabetes.

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said: “These figures are a concern, although unfortunately they are not a surprise, as we’ve been concerned about the increase in the numbers of people diagnosed with diabetes for some time. Many cases of diabetes could be prevented.

“We welcome the launch of the National NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme, but while this is being developed in Suffolk, we are already taking steps to improve the prevention of diabetes.

“The Healthy Lifestyles service will expand from April 2016 to include diabetes screening for high risk individuals who are too young to be eligible for the NHS Health Check Programme. In addition, the new service will support employers to roll out workplace based health checks, which will detect risk factors in lower risk people.”

Anne Brown, Essex County councillor for communities and healthy living, said the authority was investing £1.5million in weight loss schemes to help tackle the problem.

She said: Tackling the obesity epidemic is a priority for us at County Hall. Too many people in Essex, and across the UK, are overweight or obese.

“Obesity has significant impacts on our health, including an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”

A spokesperson for Live Well Suffolk said: “These figures demonstrate how important it is for people to make healthier lifestyle choices to reduce the chance of developing Type 2 diabetes. Prevention is key and maintaining a healthy weight, keeping physically active and enjoying a healthy balanced diet can all help to minimise the risk.

“Type 2 diabetes can have a huge impact on someone’s life. There aren’t many early warning signs so normally people don’t start to feel unwell until the more serious complications start to occur. That’s why it’s so important for people to make healthier lifestyle changes now, in order to prevent any long term health challenges.”

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