THE soaring number of diabetics in Bolton is a result of rising obesity levels and quicker diagnoses, according to health chiefs.

Diabetes UK released figures recently showing Bolton to have 388 more diabetes patients than last year, with the town’s total now up to 17,588.

The stats suggest almost 10 percent of people in the town are sufferers, and Diabetes UK say this figure will only rise again over the next two years.

By 2020, experts predict about 20,000 people in Bolton will have diabetes.

Dr Wirin Bhatiani, Chair of NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said: “Obesity is increasing in Bolton and a direct consequence of this is an increased risk of diabetes.

“Our practices have been carrying out health checks for some time now and Bolton has been particularly successful in this process.

“So, the number of people diagnosed with diabetes in Bolton has gone up partly because of substantial work identifying this group of people.

A small number of people are Type 1 diabetics — a condition not linked to weight or lifestyle — but more than 90 percent cases are Type 2, which overweight people are more likely to develop.

The risk is also enhanced for people aged over 40, South Asians aged over 25 or people closely related to a diabetic.

Julie Byron, Diabetes UK’s regional manager for the North West, said: “It is alarming that the number of diabetics in Bolton has risen by 388 in a single year and addressing this needs to be one of our top priorities.

“A vital first step is to ensure people realise how serious it is so they can make lifestyle changes that can prevent it.

“I know people have busy lives and thinking about future health can be uncomfortable, but it is only if people in Bolton grasp the nettle and get their risk assessed that we can start to bring the rise in diabetes to an end.”