The number of people in the West Country diagnosed with diabetes will reach 400,000 by 2020, experts at Diabetes UK have warned.
The national charity said it expects new cases of diabetes in the region to climb from the current figure of 335,000 to 399,000 over the next eight years. This includes an increase of 10,800 in diabetes rates in Devo, an increase of 7,700 in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly and a 2,200 rise in Plymouth.
Many of the extra cases will be type 2 diabetes, which is often linked to obesity, poor diet and a lack of exercise.
Dr Kerry Bailey, a public health specialist in Cornwall, said: “The awful predictions are a warning of what could happen unless we do something. There needs to be a focus on prevention rather than waiting for the problem to get worse.
“Some people need to become more active, lose weight, and bring their sugar levels back to normal.”
She added: “Evidence shows large numbers of people are unaware they have Type 2 diabetes . But people can assess their level of risk online, or visit their GP for a test and a health check .”
Earlier this month, Diabetes UK forecast that the total diabetic population of Britain would soar from around 3.7 million to 4.4 million by 2020, putting even more strain on NHS budgets and leading to more patients developing devastating complications such as blindness, stroke and heart disease.

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