Diabetes rates in three areas of the Black Country are among the worst in the country, a report has revealed today.
Wolverhampton has the third highest diabetes rate in England, new research has shown, while Sandwell has the fifth highest rate and Walsall the seventh highest.
In Wolverhampton, 9.6 per cent of people in the city have diabetes compared to a national average of 7.4 per cent, according to the figures released by Diabetes UK.
It comes as experts warn more people are expected to develop the condition in all three areas over the next few years.
By 2020, the number of people in Wolverhampton with diabetes is expected to hit 10.8 per cent of the population. In Sandwell, it is predicted to rise from 9.4 per cent of the population to 10.4 and in Walsall from 8.8 per cent to 9.7 per cent.
Diabetes UK is now urging people in the Black Country to make sure they know the risks of type two diabetes,
They are urging people to have a risk assessment about their risk of developing diabetes.
The charity is also concerned many people do not know the full dangers of the disease, which can in some cases lead to blindness, amputation, stroke and heart attacks.
It occurs when the body cannot break down sugar into energy. This happens when the hormone insulin isn’t working properly or the body can not make enough of it.
Pete Shorrick, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for the Midlands, said: “It is alarming that Wolverhampton, Walsall and Sandwell have some of the highest rates in England and addressing this situation needs to be one of the top health priorities in the area. Given that the increase in diabetes cases that is projected to happen over the next few years is mainly due to the sharp rise in type two diabetes, we need to get much better at preventing cases of it.
“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.
“This is why we need to raise awareness that if people are overweight, have a large waist or, have a family history of diabetes, they need to get a risk assessment, as should people who are South Asian and aged over 25.”
He urged people in the three Black Country boroughs affected to ‘grasp the nettle’ and take a risk assessment.