Brent 'worst borough for diabetes'

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Media captionMavle Carby from Brent was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 20 years ago

Brent in north-west London has the highest rate of diabetes in England with more than one in 10 people over 16 living with the disease, figures show.

London boroughs Newham, Harrow and Redbridge also have among the highest rates in England.

A Brent GP said the high rate was partly due to the high level of diagnosis as well as the ethnic mix and other factors.

He said money was being spent on detection and education.

The figures have been analysed by Diabetes UK and have come from Yorkshire and Humber Health Intelligence, which runs the National Diabetes Information Service.

Seems 'normal'

People from the Afro-Caribbean and South Asian communities are most at risk of diabetes, said Diabetes UK, with people of Indian, Bangladeshi or Pakistani origin six times more likely to develop it than white people.

The 2011 census showed Brent had the highest proportion of non-UK born residents in London.

Mavle Carby, 62, was diagnosed 40 years ago with type 2 diabetes, which means her body does not produce enough insulin to function properly.

She has eyesight and kidney problems as a result.

She said: "I know the changes I had to make if I want to live a normal and healthy life.

"My mum did not accept [her diabetes] for a long while. She could not comprehend it.

"By the time she did it was too late."

'Biggest threat'

Dr Ajit Shah runs a GP practice in Kenton Road in Brent where the diabetes rate among patients is even higher than the borough's at 12.4%.

Asked why the prevalence of diabetes is so high, he said it was partly because the borough had been proactive in diagnosing cases but also because of the ethnic mix of the population, diet, lack of exercise and obesity.

He said: "It has an impact on general health. Diabetics are more at risk of developing heart disease, strokes, blindness and kidney disease."

He said Brent's clinical commissioning group for which he is a clinical director is planning to invest more in detection, diagnostics and education.

Diabetes UK believes there are about 80,000 people living in London with undiagnosed type 2 diabetes.

Roz Rosenblatt of Diabetes UK said: "The problem is that within communities, if everyone you know has diabetes, then it becomes almost normal for that community."

She added: "It's probably the biggest public health threat that we have in the 21st Century."

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