Merton has one of the lowest rates of diabetes in London but the number of sufferers will go up by 4,782 in the next 20 years, placing pressure on local health services, according to Public Health England.
There are currently 13,578 people with diabetes in the area, up by 254 on last year. Some 8.2% of all the people living in Merton have the condition, which is below the national rate of 8.6%. But forecasts by PHE, a government agency, show that by 2020 the rate will have gone up to 8.4% and in 2035 will hit 9.3%.
The agency based its predictions on health surveys carried out over three years and focused on people over the age of 16. PHE says that around 90% of the new cases will be Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by lifestyle factors and linked to obesity. It says these cases are preventable and tackling the problem is fundamental to the future of the health service.
The increased prevalence of the condition coincides with a rise in the population of the capital in the coming decades. There will be 895,489 diabetes sufferers across London’s 33 boroughs by 2035, and 2.1% of them will live in Merton .
Diabetes is caused by the inability of the body to regulate the amount of sugar in the blood. It is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attack. Sufferers may also develop kidney disease and foot ulcers, which can lead to amputation.