Growing threat of a hidden health danger

Elinor Crawley, who has diabetes, launching an awareness campaign

Elinor Crawley, who has diabetes, launching an awareness campaign

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HEALTH chiefs in Wigan say they are refocusing their efforts to beat the diabetes epidemic as new figures show the number of sufferers now stands at over four million.

A new report, released today, is based on data from GP surgeries across the country revealed the worry statistical milestone.

Wigan has an above average proportion of diabetes sufferers, with seven per cent of the population struck down by both types of the condition, according a report NHS report published in 2013.

But the head of Wigan’s public health team says they are promoting a number of simple steps which can reduce the risk of developing the condition.

Prof Kate Ardern, director for public health at Wigan Council, said: “Diabetes can have a huge impact on people’s lives but by taking simple steps such as eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly you can help to manage the condition and even reduce the risk of it developing in the first place.

“We have a range of fantastic local programmes and services that can support people to lead healthy lifestyles – from Lose Weight, Feel Great, that offers a range of programmes to help people to manage their weight and keep it off for good, and help reduce the risk of developing diabetes, to an innovative range of physical activity and outdoor provision from

“Inspiring healthy lifestyles, including the newly upgraded Howe Bridge leisure centre, Haigh woodland park developments as well as a range of targeted physical activity services such as the GP referral scheme- for those with health conditions such as diabetes.

“For those aged 40-74, we would urge people to make sure they attend their NHS Health checks which can help spot issues such as diabetes so that proper treatment and care can begin as soon as possible to help manage the condition.”

Today’s report is drawn from GP practice data, analysed by the charity Diabetes UK, shows there are now 4.05 million people living with the condition. This includes 3.5 million adults who have been officially diagnosed - up 119,965 on the figure for the previous year and an increase of 65 per cent over the past decade.

Some 549,000 people are also believed to have Type 2 diabetes but are currently undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is linked to unhealthy lifestyles, including obesity.

If current trends continue, an estimated five million people will have diabetes by 2025.