Charity warns over 'shocking' rise in diabetes in Wales

Image caption,
Barry Worral - one of the newly diagnosed diabetics in Wales

The number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Wales has risen by 7,000 in the past year, a charity has warned.

Diabetes UK Cymru called the rise, to 153,000, along with rising obesity rates, "shocking".

Dai Williams, director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said most of the increase involved Type 2 diabetes, and targeting unhealthy lifestyles was essential.

"Failure to act now means a bleak future of spiralling NHS costs and worsening public health," he said.

The figures have been collected from GP practices across Wales.

They also show a further 12,600 people in Wales were registered as obese in the past year, creeping to 318,600 - or one in 10 people.

Wales has a higher percentage of people diagnosed with diabetes and who are obese than Scotland and Northern Ireland.

More than 153,000 in Wales over the age of 17 have diabetes, nearly one in 20. Around 90% of those have Type 2 diabetes, which is strongly linked to being overweight or obese, leading a sedentary lifestyle and eating an unhealthy diet.

Mr Williams said as well as poor health, diabetes was also putting a financial strain on the NHS.

"Treating diabetes already costs 10% of the NHS budget in Wales annually, around £500m," he said.

Mr Williams added: "Many, but not all, people develop Type 2 diabetes because they are overweight or obese.

"So we must keep up the mantra of 'five fruit and veg a day', encourage daily physical activity, and warn of the potentially devastating consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle."

One new patient, Barry Worral, 48, from Flintshire, who works for a plant and tool hire company, said: "It started with some back pains. I went to the doctor and he thought initially it was a form of shingles. Eventually, I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes."

He has now changed his diet, lifesyle, as well as managing stress.

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