Diabetes is on the rise in the Black Country, new figures have revealed.
In Wolverhampton, Walsall and Dudley 50,000 people now have diabetes – around 2,000 more than last year.
Across the West Midlands the figure has increased from 365,000 to 383,000 and bosses have warned that action needs to be taken.
The rise is being fuelled by cases of type 2 diabetes, which is linked to obesity and unhealthy lifestyles.
The latest figures for 2012/13 show that 16,043 people in Wolverhampton have diabetes, up from 15,366 last year.
In Dudley the figure is up to 16,515 – a rise of 845 – while in Walsall 17,567 now have diabetes, which is 535 more than in 2011/12.
Across the Black Country 50,125 people have type 1 or 2 diabetes, up from 48,063.
Are you living with diabetes? Share your story in the comments section below, or via Twitter @ExpressandStar
It mirrors a trend across the country, with the UK seeing its biggest rise in the number of people suffering with diabetes since 2008.
Elsewhere NHS figures revealed that 34,646 people in Sandwell and West Birmingham had diabetes, as well as 7,157 in Cannock.
However those figures could not be compared with previous totals as when Clinical Commissioning Groups replaced Primary Care Trusts last April some borders were altered.
Maxine Bygrave, chair of patient group Healthwatch Wolverhampton, said that prevention of diabetes was often about common sense.
She added: “It’s about eating healthily, taking regular exercise and making healthy choices.
“There are checks in place that GPs offer and of course changes to behaviour such as excessive thirst can be an indicator.
“We’d suggest that people talk to their GP and look for good general advice on diabetes website.” The number of people with diabetes in the UK is now more than 3.2 million, with last year seeing the biggest jump in cases since 2008.
NHS figures show 3,208,014 adults are now diagnosed with the condition. Around 850,000 more people have diabetes without knowing it.
Barbara Young, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “The big increase in the number of people with diabetes confirms that we are in the middle of an unfolding public health disaster that demands urgent action and it is frightening to think that one in 17 people you walk past in the street has been diagnosed with the condition.
“The complications of diabetes are not only devastating for the people involved, but they are also very expensive to treat.
“With the number of people with diabetes continuing to rise, there is now an urgent need to grasp the nettle and start focusing on the ongoing care and support for self-management that can help prevent complications happening in the first place.”Subscribe to our Newsletter