More than one in 13 people across Harrow and Brent have diabetes, it has emerged, with one sufferer of the disease warning: “We all have to act now, before it is too late.”

Security business owner Herbie Crossman, of Alexandra Avenue, South Harrow, was diagnosed on his birthday in 2000, changing his life forever.

Revealed: One in 13 have diabetes in Harrow and Brent  

“It was some birthday, that’s for sure,” the 66-year-old said.

“The fact that one in 13 have it now does not surprise me at all.

“Look around where I live, or anywhere in Harrow and Brent – proper cooking and proper shops have been replaced by all these fast-food takeaways which you see everywhere and they breed obesity.”

Diabetes prevalence now at just over 8 per cent in the boroughs - a sharp increase from 6.4 per cent in Brent and 6.7 per cent in Harrow across 2008 and 2009. The national average is just over 6 per cent.

Mr Crossman said: “When I was diagnosed, I was shocked, but I suppose it was my lifestyle.

“I was working long hours, eating all the wrong foods, overweight, that can happen to anyone.

“But the problem is that we are not making it easy enough for people to get tested.

“I’ve always talked about having a 50p or £1 charge at any local pharmacy to get tested on-the-spot, because by tackling it early, you increase your chances of dealing with it, having more power over it and ultimately it saves the NHS a lot of money.

“The truth is that we all have to act now, before it is too late because this is a death sentence unless you manage it.”

Treating diabetes is now costing the NHS over £800million a year, a 56 per cent rise since the 2005/2006 financial year, and both Harrow and Brent Councils have identified tackling the issue as a priority.

The NHS recommend that the key symptoms of having diabetes are:

  1. Feeling very thirsty
  2. Urinating frequently, particularly at night.
  3. Feeling very tired
  4. Weight loss and loss of muscle bulk

Readers are advised to consult their doctor if they have any concerns.

What do you think should be done to tackle diabetes? E0mail john.shammas@trinitymirror.com