Hospital chiefs are highlighting the dangers of undiagnosed diabetes as part of a drive to raise awareness of the condition.
Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust has issued advice as part of Diabetes Awareness Week on June 9-15.
Across Wakefield and North Kirklees districts around 1,000 people are diagnosed with diabetes every year, as of October last year there were 17,753 people in the Wakefield district with diabetes.
Dr Dinesh Nagi, diabetes consultant and chairman of the local diabetes network, said it is estimated around 200,000 people in the UK had undiagnosed diabetes.
He said: “Good control of diabetes can prevent long-term complications, affecting eyesight, kidneys, even amputation, all of which can cause a lot of suffering and impair quality of life.”
There are two kinds of diabetes, type one, which usually develops in childhood and is controlled by insulin injections, and the more common type two, which develops later in life and is controlled by lifestyle changes and sometimes medication.
Around 90 per cent of diabetes sufferers have type two diabetes and numbers of people developing it are rising.
Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, a frequent need to urinate, loss of appetite, tiredness and unexplained weight loss.
Dr Nagi added: “Type two diabetes is a preventable disease. There are three reasons we are seeing more patients, firstly it’s more common in older people, and we are an ageing population, secondly there is an obesity epidemic, and being overweight puts you at greater risk of conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Lastly we have become physically inactive.”
People can take action to reduce their risk of developing diabetes, through eating healthily and maintaining a healthy weight and increasing their physical activity.
The trust works closely with GP practices to ensure people with diabetes can get care close to home. For advice on diabetes contact your local GP surgery.