Type 2 diabetes could soar in Barking and Dagenham, experts say

Experts have warned that Type 2 diabetes could affect more than 14,000 people in Barking and Dagenham by 2030.

Increased levels of obesity and changes in the population’s diversity mean they are anticipating a 50 per cent increase from the current 9,000 people already diagnosed.

The seriousness of the issue has led the council to conduct a review into its diabetes services.

It found that of those living with diabetes only half were receiving all the annual essential health checks and there was inconsistency in those checks across GP surgeries.

Due to complications arising from poor management of the illness, the rate of emergency admissions for diabetes was above the national average.

The review also found Barking and Dagenham had the fifth highest spending costs on anti-diabetic treatment in London.

Type 2 diabetes, which affects seven per cent of residents, develops when the body cannot make enough insulin to break down glucose, causing sugars to build up in the blood.

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Usually it can be treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity, but left untreated it can lead to loss of feeling in fingers and toes, kidney and heart problems and loss of vision.

The risk factors – obesity, age and ethnicity – are high here. The borough is estimated to have the highest percentage of obese adults in London, the majority of residents are aged over 40 and about 34 per cent of people are South Asian or African/African-Caribbean, who are more susceptible to the condition.

The review’s recommendations include improved screening and diagnosis, helping patients to better understand health checks and ensuring all GP practices adhere to the correct processes.

It states: “With a renewed emphasis on integrated working and sustained activity to improve the take-up of health checks both for diabetics and those at risk, the borough could do more to prevent the awful complications of this condition.”

Cllr Sanchia Alasia, chair of the health and adult services select committee, said: “It has been a real eye opener to speak to people who live with Type 2 diabetes in the borough. We have heard about the impact that the condition has on people’s lives day-to-day and the very real issues that people who live with Type 2 diabetes experience in terms of information, support and care.”