The number of people with diabetes in East Sussex has risen by 822 in the past year, recent research has revealed.
The analysis, conducted by Diabetes UK, shows that 37, 037 people in the area have been diagnosed with diabetes - a figure that has gone up from 36, 215 in 2012.
The statistics mean that 8.5 per cent of people in East Sussex are now thought to have the condition, although this is projected to rise to 9.3 per cent by 2020.
Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for the South East said, “It is alarming that the number of people with diabetes in East Sussex has gone up by 822 in a single year and addressing this situation needs to be one of the top health priorities in the area.
“A vital first step towards this is to ensure both that people realise how serious it is and also that they understand their own personal risk so that if they are at high risk they can make the lifestyle changes that can help prevent it.
“I know that we all have busy lives and that thinking about future health can be uncomfortable, but it is only if people in East Sussex grasp the nettle and get their risk assessed that we can start to bring the rise in diabetes in the area to an end.”
The rise comprises largely of people with Type 2 diabetes, which already accounts for 90 per cent of diabetes cases nationally. Risk factors of Type 2 include being overweight, being over 40 or over 25 if you are from a South Asian background or having a close family member with the condition.
It is believed 80 per cent of Type 2 cases can be delayed or prevented through making healthier lifestyle choices.
Diabetes UK has responded to news of the sharp increase by urging people in East Sussex to have their risk assessed, which they can do at a Tesco pharmacy, their GP surgery or online at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk.
They also wish to stress the message that diabetes is not a mild condition and is, in fact, the leading cause of blindness in people of a working age in the UK. It is also a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.
In the UK, there are around 3.8 million people with diabetes - a number that, if current trends continue, is expected to rise to five million by 2025.
For more information, visit www.diabetes.org.uk.