Suffolk/Essex: Charity calls for action after increase in number of people with diabetes

Charity chiefs have called for more people to get tested for diabetes after a sharp rise throughout

Charity chiefs have called for more people to get tested for diabetes after a sharp rise throughout Suffolk and Essex. Photo credit: Hugo Philpott/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The number of people with diabetes in Suffolk has shot up by more than 1,200 in just one year, new figures show.

Officials at Diabetes UK have now called on health chiefs to make tackling the condition in the county a priority, as they claimed the number will continue to rise.

In 2012 there were 45,475 people who were thought to have diabetes, but that has risen 46,678 this year, according to the charity’s data.

That represents a rise of nearly 3%, but also means 7.6% of people in the county have diabetes. In Essex, the number rose from 83,188 in 2012 to 85,235 this year.

Sharon Roberts, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for the eastern region, said: “It is alarming that the number of people with diabetes in Suffolk has gone up by 1,203 in a single year. Addressing this situation needs to be one of the top health priorities in the area.

“Given that the increase in diabetes cases is mainly due to a sharp rise in Type 2 diabetes, we need to get much better at preventing cases of Type 2.

“A vital first step towards this is to ensure both that people realise how serious it is and also that they understand their own personal risk so that if they are at high risk they can make the lifestyle changes that can help prevent it.”

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The charity believes raising awareness of diabetes is key, as it is projected that more than 8.3% of Suffolk’s population and 7.8% of Essex will have diabetes by 2020.

Officials have also urged people who are over 40, overweight, have a large waist, or have a family history of diabetes, to get a risk assessment, as well as people of South Asian descent who are over 25.

Ms Roberts added: “I know that we all have busy lives and that thinking about future health can be uncomfortable, but it is only if people in Suffolk grasp the nettle and get their risk assessed that we can start to bring the rise in diabetes in the area to an end.”

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