There are more than 1,000 more people with diabetes in West Sussex than there were a year ago, according to research by Diabetes UK.
Analysis shows that 51,591 people in West Sussex are now thought to have diabetes, which has gone up from 50,423 in 2012.
Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for the South East said: “It is alarming that the number of people with diabetes in West Sussex has gone up by 1,168 in a single year and addressing this situation needs to be one of the top health priorities in the area.
“Given that the increase in diabetes cases is mainly due to a sharp rise in Type 2 diabetes, we need to get much better at preventing cases of Type 2.
“I know that we all have busy lives and that thinking about future health can be uncomfortable, but it is only if people in West 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.”
7.5 per cent of people in the county are now thought to have the condition, and Diabetes UK has warned that this proportion is expected to rise further over the next few years.
It is projected that 8.4 per cent of people in West Sussex will have diabetes by 2020, a rise that is expected to comprise mainly of new cases of Type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes UK has responded to news of the increase by urging people in West Sussex to make sure they know the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and have their risk assessed if any of these apply to them.
The charity is also concerned that many people wrongly think diabetes is a relatively mild condition and so do not see the need to find out more about their own risk, whereas in fact it can lead to devastating health complications such as blindness, amputation, stroke and heart attacks, and ultimately to early death.