A diabetes sufferer from South Tyneside is urging people to check if they are at risk - as the number of people with the condition rises.
Andrew Wade, 32, from Chichester, South Shields, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in October 2017 and is one of 9,564 people in South Tyneside who have the condition.
That is a rate of 7.24% - above the national average of 6.8%
New analysis released today by Diabetes UK shows that the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in the North East has increased from 158,252 to 162,652 since last year.
Experts say an increase in obesity rates is the main driver behind so many more people living with Type 2 diabetes.
While not every case of Type 2 diabetes is caused by excessive weight, it is the single greatest risk factor for developing the condition - age, family history, and ethnicity can also contribute.
Andrew made a series of lifestuyle changes after his diagnosis.
He said: “After I found out I had Type 2 diabetes, I knew I needed to make some changes to my lifestyle. I improved my diet. Due to my shift patterns, I’d often rely on takeaways and other convenience food.
“I started preparing meals in advance which made a big difference”
The branch manager, who is getting married next month says his fiancée, Heather, has played a huge role in keeping him motivated.
He said: “Heather has helped me make important changes to my lifestyle. We plan meals in advance, eat less junk and convenience food and she came with me to the diabetes education course. She has really kept me motivated.”
Type 2 diabetes can be prevented or delayed by healthy eating, being more active, and losing weight.
The symptoms include going to the toilet often, feeling really thirsty, more tired than usual and losing weight without trying.
Diabetes UK is recommending that everyone use the free Know Your Risk online tool to find out their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, and is urging people aged 40 or over to take up a free NHS health check.
Clare Howarth, head of the north at Diabetes UK, said: “Thousands of Type 2 diabetes cases could be prevented if we help people understand their risk and how to reduce it.
“Even though the older people get, the more likely they are to have Type 2 diabetes, it is never too early to know your risk so that you can make changes to prevent or delay it.
To find out your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, go to https://www.diabetes.org.uk/riskscore