New analysis released by Diabetes UK shows that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Somerset has increased from 31,544 to 32,293 since last year.
In the UK one in ten people over 40 is now living with a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. The new figures show that there are 3.8 million people living with a diagnosis of diabetes in the UK, and 90 per cent of those have Type 2.
There are almost 1 million more people living with Type 2 diabetes who don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed, bringing the total number up to 4.7 million. By 2030 it is predicted this number will rise to 5.5 million.
The dramatic increase in obesity rates is the main driver behind so many more people living with Type 2 diabetes in the UK. Three in five adults in England are overweight or obese, and while not every case of Type 2 diabetes is caused by excessive weight, it is the single greatest risk factor for developing the condition.
Age, family history, and ethnicity can also contribute to someone’s risk, with people of African-Caribbean, Black African, or South Asian descent two to four times more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than white people.
Many cases of Type 2 diabetes could be prevented or delayed by healthy eating, being more active, and losing weight if overweight.
The symptoms, which involve going to the toilet a lot, being really thirsty, feeling more tired than usual and losing weight without trying, can be easy to miss, especially in the early stages. The condition can go undetected for many years, and by the time they’re diagnosed one in three people already have complications with their eyes, feet, kidneys or nerves.
With 12.3 million people at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, Diabetes UK wants to raise awareness of the risk factors so that people can take steps to look after their health and prevent or delay the onset of the condition and its serious complications.
Diabetes UK is recommending that everyone use the free Know Your Risk online tool to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and is urging people aged 40 or over to take up a free NHS health check.
Phaedra Perry, Diabetes UK South West Regional Head, said: “Thousands of Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented if we help people understand their risk and how to reduce it. It’s true that the older people get the more likely they are to have Type 2 diabetes, but it is never too early to know your risk so that you can make changes to prevent or delay it.
“The signs of Type 2 diabetes are often not obvious. That’s why spotting them early can be life-changing. Early diagnosis means that fewer people will experience diabetes-related complications such as sight loss, amputation, kidney failure, stroke and heart disease, because they can seek support earlier to manage their condition effectively.
“We urge people over 40 to get an NHS Health Check and we advise everyone to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes with the Know your Risk tool.”
To find out your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, go to www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore
To find out more about NHS health checks, go to www.nhs.uk/conditions/nhs-health-check/
For more stats and facts about diabetes, visit www.diabetes.org.uk/stats2019