New cases of diabetes are set to double by 2025 in the Midlands, as a result of the region’s growing obesity crisis, according to new figures published today.
At present, about 225,000 people in the region are diagnosed with the condition, while a further 50,000 are unaware they have it, but statistics produced by Diabetes UK reveal that will rise by 46 per cent, to top 402,000.
Much of the increase, predicted by the Yorkshire and Humber Public Health Observatory, is due to rising rates of obesity in Britain, as eight out of 10 people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes are overweight.
The West Midlands has the highest level of obesity in women, with 60 per cent classified as overweight or obese, while 66 per cent of men tip the scales in the same categories.
Such an increase, set against a predicted national rise in cases from 2.8 million to 4.2 million over the next 17 years, will have a major impact on public health, as diabetes can lead to complications such as heart disease, blindness, kidney disease and amputation.
It will also put further financial strain on the NHS, which spends about £10,000 per minute treating diabetes and related conditions, with annual costs of £5 million and a further £130 million on medication.
Peter Shorrick, Manager of the Diabetes UK West Midlands office, said: “These new figures are shocking and confirm that diabetes is one of the main health challenges facing the UK today.
“Awareness and prevention are crucial if we want to avert this future health crisis and see the number of people with Type 2 diabetes fall. We need to encourage people to reduce their risk of developing the condition by eating healthily, maintaining a healthy weight and leading an active lifestyle.”
The figures were released to launch Diabetes Week, which runs until Saturday, during which people are being urged to take simple steps to cut their risk of developing the condition.
Eating a healthy, balanced diet, being physically active, and quitting smoking can help reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by up to 64 per cent.
Those at risk should also watch their waist, because men with waists wider than 37 inches and women whose measurement is over 31.5 inches are more at risk. South Asian men face a risk if their waists are bigger than 35 inches.
But the condition can remain undetected for up to 12 years, and one in two may already have serious complications by the time it is diagnosed.
Men and women who have a large waist, are over 40 – or over 25 if black or Asian – and have a relative who is diabetic, should go to their doctor or local pharmacy for a diabetes test.