The number of people living with diabetes in Luton has gone up by 274 in the past year, according to new research by charity Diabetes UK.
There are now thought to be 12,417 people in Luton with diabetes, which means that eight per cent of people aged over 16 have the condition, which can lead to blindness, amputation, stroke, heart attacks and early death.
Luton has higher than average rates of diabetes, with the highest rates in the Dallow, Biscot and Saints wards, where the town’s Asian communities are concentrated.
Simon O’Neill, Diabetes UK Director for Health Intelligence, said: “It is alarming that the number of people with diabetes in Luton has gone up by 274 in a single year and addressing this situation needs to be one of the top health priorities in the area.” The number of cases is expected to rise even further in the next few years, with nine per cent of people in Luton expected to have the disease by 2020.
In 2011, it was estimated that 6.4 per cent of the town’s population had diabetes, so the figure appears to be increasing at a rate of one per cent a year.
Type 2 diabetes is the more common type, which can be caused by being overweight, having a large waist, being over 40, or being over 25 if you are from a South Asian background, or having a close family member with diabetes.
Diabetes UK is urging people to make sure they know the risk factors and be assessed if any of these apply to them.
People can do this at a Tesco pharmacy, their GP surgery, or online at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk.
About 80 per cent of cases of Type 2 diabetes can be delayed or prevented through making healthy lifestyle changes.