A Burton man who has suffered from diabetes for 56 years, has spoken of the importance of taking ownership of the condition "before it is too late".
It comes after it was revealed that the number of people living with the condition has doubled in the last 20 years.
Bernard Peters, 65, has told of his own experience with the "frightening" condition, after Diabetes UK labelled it the "fastest growing health crisis of our time" after the number of people diagnosed across the UK reached almost 3.7 million - an increase of 1.9 million since 1998.
A further 12.3 million people are at an increased risk of type two diabetes, according to the charity's analysis, which also estimates that there are nearly one million people who have diabetes but are not aware of it.
Mr Peters, East Staffordshire borough councillor for Brizlincote, was diagnosed with type one diabetes as a child. Despite some struggles and sacrifices, he said he has learned to manage his condition and is now urging others to do the same.
He said: "Diabetes is a never-ending subject but it is one that we must talk about. Having had diabetes for 56 years I know the importance of taking ownership and responsibility of my health and how frightening it can be.
"There can be terrible complications if diabetes is not managed properly. People can lose their eyesight or may need to have their limbs amputated so it is important any concerns are nipped in the bud.
"For me it is about regular blood tests, insulin and eating the right food. If you don't look after yourself you will inevitably end up in some difficulty and you could become miserable, depressed and suffer further consequences."
Mr Peters said the rise in the number of people with type two diabetes is a great cause for concern and will no doubt put extra pressure on our health service.
He said: "Statistics are seeing numbers increase related to type two which could be down to people making the wrong choices in terms of living a healthy lifestyle. There are more people in their teens than ever before that are being diagnosed with type two diabetes which is related to obesity. It is worrying.
"Numbers are going to be so great by 2025 that the cost on the NHS will make a significant drain on an already very tired budget so it is something that needs looking at.
"People should make the effort if diagnosed and find out how to manage the condition before it is too late. There is plenty of information around and modern day insulin is much more flexible than it was when I was diagnosed.
"If you can’t get an appointment to see a GP call 111 who are always on hand and have given me advice in the past. Diabetes can be very scary so the best thing is to load yourself up with all the knowledge you can."
Almost nine in ten people diagnosed with diabetes have type two diabetes, which has been linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity.
Chris Askew is the chief executive of Diabetes UK. He said: "Diabetes is the fastest growing health crisis of our time; and the fact that diagnoses have doubled in just 20 years should give all of us serious pause for thought.
"Both type one and type two diabetes are serious conditions that can lead to devastating complications such as amputation, blindness, kidney disease, stroke and heart disease if people don't receive a timely diagnosis and begin receiving the right care.
"With more than 12 million people across the UK at risk of developing type two diabetes, and prevalence of both type one and type two diabetes still on the rise, it is clear there is a huge amount of work to be done.
"We want the Government to recognise the seriousness of the growing diabetes crisis, take action to help those at increased risk, and help us turn the tables on this devastating condition."
Diabetes UK has called on the Government to introduce stricter restrictions both on junk food advertising to children and supermarket price promotions for unhealthy foods.
Professor Jonathan Valabhji, national clinical director for diabetes and obesity at NHS England, said: "This is important work that shines a light on the growing obesity crisis sweeping the country.
"It is a public health crisis associated with more heart attacks, cancer, type two diabetes and other avoidable illnesses - causing personal suffering and costing the health service and in turn the taxpayer, billions every year. And for all of those conditions, wherever possible, prevention is preferable to cure.
"Diabetes UK rightly highlight the importance of our diabetes prevention programme, which can support good weight management, as well as helping people at high risk of developing type two diabetes stay healthy, but while we are doing our bit, this is a battle we cannot win alone."
Common differences between type one and type two diabetes
- Often diagnosed in childhood
- Not associated with excess body weight
- Often associated with higher than normal ketone levels at diagnosis
- Treated with insulin injections or insulin pump
- Cannot be controlled without taking insulin
- Usually diagnosed in over 30-year-olds
- Often associated with excess body weight
- Often associated with high blood pressure and/ or cholesterol levels at diagnosis
- Is usually treated initially without medication or with tablets
- Sometimes possible to come off diabetes medication