One in 16 people across Northamptonshire has Type 2 diabetes, new figures have revealed.
During the past 12 months, figures show that 1,547 people have been diagnosed – an increase of 4.4 per cent on last year.
Latest statistics compiled by NHS Digital show the number of people in the county with the condition rose from 29,749 in March 2011 to 37,009 in March 2016 which is an increase of 24.4 per cent in five years.
That means 6.3 per cent of the county population has diabetes.
The condition causes a person's blood sugar level to become too high and is a lifelong condition.
Martin Cassidy, of the regional NHS Diabetes Prevention Programme , said: “The fact that Type 2 figures have increased in Northamptonshire comes as no surprise as we already know the condition has become a major and worrying health concern.
“It is essential we start to tackle the diabetes ticking time bomb before it’s too late. The NHS is already struggling to cope with treating the condition and the complications it can create if not managed correctly.”
A total of 90 per cent of diabetes sufferers have Type 2 diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle, diet and exercise choices. Its symptoms include feeling very thirsty, very tired and passing urine more often than usual.
Dr Yassir Javaid, chief diabetes doctor for NHS Nene, said: “The NHS is struggling to cope with the demands of managing diabetes and its complications.
“That is why we are focusing on identifying patients at high risk of diabetes and offering them education about the dangers of Type 2 diabetes and how it can be prevented.”
As part of Diabetes Prevention Week, which started on January 16, mobile diabetes units will be stationed across the county.
This will give members of the public the opportunity to find out what their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes is. If deemed high, they will be referred straight onto an NHS diabetes prevention programme.
The units will be situated at Corby’s Market Place on Monday, January 16 from 9.30am to 5pm and Northampton’s Market Square on Tuesday from 10am to 5pm.
There are currently 4.5 million people in the UK who have diabetes, mainly Type 2, but that could rise to five million if the problem is not tackled, Public Health England recently said.
Since it started in the East Midlands in July 2016, more than 2,000 people have been referred onto the educational programme where participants receive tailored support to help them make positive changes to their diet, weight and the amount of physical activity they do to significantly reduce the risk of, or even stop them from developing Type 2 diabetes.