A charity has flagged up a rise of more than 1,200 people with diabetes in Surrey in the last year.

A new analysis carried out by Diabetes UK has shown there are now 1, 218 more people with diabetes in Surrey than there were a year ago.

The charity said its research shows that 61,522 people in Surrey are now thought to have diabetes.

The total has gone up from 60,304 in 2012. The cause stated that 6.7% of people in the area are now thought to have the condition, and it warned that this proportion is expected to rise further over the next few years.

In a statement this week, Diabetes UK said: “It is projected that 7.3% of people in Surrey will have diabetes by 2020 - a rise that is expected to comprise mainly of new cases of Type 2 diabetes, which already accounts for about 90% of diabetes cases nationally.”

It added: “Risk factors for Type 2 include being overweight, having a large waist, being over 40 or over 25 if you are from a South Asian background, or having a close family member with diabetes.”

Urging people in Surrey to make sure they know the risk factors for Type 2 diabetes and to have their risk assessed if any of these apply to them, either at a Tesco pharmacy, their GP surgery, or online at www.diabetes.org.uk/risk , the charity warned 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.

In fact, it said, diabetes can lead to devastating health complications such as blindness, amputation, stroke and heart attacks, and ultimately, early death. Jill Steaton, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for the South-east, said: “It is alarming that the number of people with diabetes in Surrey has gone up by 1, 218 in a single year, and addressing this situation needs to be one of the top health priorities in the area.”

Ms Steaton said: “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.

“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.”

She added: ““I know that we all have busy lives, and that thinking about future health can be uncomfortable, but it is only if people in Surrey grasp the nettle and get their risk assessed that we can start to bring the rise in diabetes in the area to an end.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly.

In the UK, there are around 3.8 million people who have diabetes - three million people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and around 850,000 more who have Type 2 diabetes but do not know they have it because they have not been diagnosed.

As many as seven million people are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and if current trends continue, an estimated five million people will have diabetes by 2025.

People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin and need daily insulin doses either by injections or via an insulin pump, a healthy diet and regular physical activity. .

People with Type 2 diabetes do not produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce does not work properly.

It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before the person affected realises they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity, although tablets and/or insulin can be required.

Website: www.diabetes.org.uk