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Diabetes diagnoses in Shropshire and Wales increases by more than 5,000 in a year

By Lisa O'Brien | Bridgnorth | Health | Published:

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Shropshire and Wales has increased by more than 5,000 since last year.

In Shropshire the figure rose from 17,444 in 2017/18 to 17,866 in 2018/19, analysis from Diabetes UK shows.

The figure jumped from 10,924 to 11,778 in Telford & Wrekin, while in Wales it increased from 194,693 to 198,883.

With excessive weight being linked to type two diabetes, Diabetes UK is calling on the Government to tackle childhood obesity.

In the UK 3.9 million people are currently living with a diagnosis of diabetes, and 90 per cent of those with type two.

In addition there an estimated million more people living with type two diabetes who haven’t been diagnosed yet, bringing the total number up to more than 4.8 million.

Diabetes UK has warned that the number, including the undiagnosed population, could rise to 5.3 million by 2025.

While not every case of type two diabetes is associated with excessive weight it is the single greatest risk factor. Age, family history, and ethnicity can also contribute to someone’s risk.

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Diabetes UK now wants the Government to makes the problem of childhood obesity a top priority.

Peter Shorrick, Midlands and East regional head at the charity, said: “

More than half of all cases of type two diabetes − and the accompanying risk of developing devastating complications − could be prevented or delayed by supporting people to make healthier choices.”

People with type two diabetes are 50 per cent more likely to die prematurely than those without diabetes.

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A common complication of diabetes that can lead to early death is heart disease.

Killer disease that can be blocked by cutting down on your weight

It is a condition that can lead to an early death – and the number of people diagnosed with it across the region has increased by thousands in a year.

But type two diabetes is also preventable or can be delayed in a lot of cases.

The number of those who have been diagnosed with diabetes has grown by more than 5,000 across Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and Wales between 2017/18 and 2018/19.

Now Diabetes UK is calling on the Government to tackle childhood obesity, as weight is the single biggest risk factor.

Peter Shorrick, Midlands and East regional head at the charity, said measures to tackle it should include obliging industry to make food and drinks healthier and addressing the marketing and promotion of unhealthy foods.

Mr Shorrick said that the issue is a public health priority and needed to be treated as such. He said: “At the same time, we need to help people understand their personal risk of type two diabetes and find tailored clinical support to reduce it.

“The Government promised to tackle obesity, and it’s time for them deliver on this promise, and lead the way in effecting real change.

“Preventing type two diabetes and the development of devastating complications for those living with the condition has to be a public health priority.”

Data from Public Health Wales suggests that more than 60 per cent of adults in Wales are now overweight or obese.

Dai Williams, national director at Diabetes UK Cymru, has called on the government to step in and show decisive leadership over the battle against type 2 diabetes. He said: “Type two diabetes is the urgent public health crisis in Wales and the only way to solve it is by decisive action and leadership from Welsh government. Wales is the only country in the UK without a diabetes prevention programme.

“Diabetes UK Cymru welcomes both the Welsh government’s obesity strategy Healthy Weight, Healthy Wales published earlier this month and the allocated funding.

“These interventions are the first step in tracking the growing problem of obesity in Wales. We want to see sustained investment in services to support people maintain a healthy weight.

“However, we are calling on the Welsh government to deliver a comprehensive diabetes prevention plan by working with healthcare professionals and people living with diabetes to reduce the number of people developing the condition in the future. Such an approach is vital if we as a nation are going to beat this public health crisis.”

Helen Hill

The condition can be put into remission, as shown by 43-year-old Helen Hill of Muxton, Telford.

She was diagnosed with type two diabetes in February last year but has since lost more than 11 stone in weight, putting her condition into remission.

Helen, who is now taking on a 22-mile swimming challenge to raise money for Diabetes UK, said the shock of her diagnosis spurred her into action.

She said: “I have an under-active thyroid and to be honest I have been struggling to lose weight my entire life.

“But the type two diabetes diagnosis was a real lightbulb moment for me.

Helen Hill before she lost weight

“The medication I was put on made me feel unwell, so after consulting my doctor I went on a ketogenic diet combined with intermittent fasting.

“It was the change I needed, I shed lots of weight and put my condition into remission. I carried on with the diet and managed to lose 11 stone in one year.

“I feel so much better and even though I still have a little more weight to go the transformation has been dramatic. A year ago I was talking about needing bariatric surgery and worrying about diabetes-related complications, but now I’m about to embark on this amazing challenge.”

The challenge is called Swim 22, and Helen will complete it between February 22 and May 22.

People can sponsor Helen by visiting swim22.diabetes.org.uk/pages/hilly, or if they wish to find out more about the condition they can visit. diabetes.org.uk/preventing-type-2-diabetes/diabetes-risk-factors

Lisa O'Brien

By Lisa O'Brien
Senior Reporter - @lisaobrien_Star

Senior reporter based at Shropshire Star's head office in Ketley. Covering the Telford area.

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