A WIRRAL councillor diagnosed with diabetes is urging readers to take advantage of a new screening test to find out if they have the condition.
Cllr George Davies teamed up with staff from Claughton Pharmacy to launch its service as part of Diabetes Week 2014, which starts on Sunday.
It is estimated that by 2025, 26,000 people in Merseyside will have diabetes 1.
In a bid to reduce the number, pharmacy staff Lisa Buckley, Nicky Wood, Barbara Parks and Sandra Burn have completed a Type 2 diabetes screening programme.
A free drop-in clinic will be open every Wednesday, from 10am-1pm, for people wanting to check their risk or manage their existing condition.
Cllr Davies, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes 12 years ago, said: "I'd like to applaud the pharmacy for raising awareness of the importance of getting screened.
"There are so many people out there who like me, are walking around not even aware they have it.
"It's so important that they come in and take what is a very simple test."
The service is part of the All About Health programme, which promotes healthy living through your local pharmacy.
Pharmacist David Astbury said: "It's worrying that people still aren’t taking diabetes seriously despite the frequent statistics from Diabetes UK and the NHS that prove we’re a nation at risk.
"Type 1 diabetes is a non-preventable disease and the causes are unknown, however Type 2 diabetes, which is the most common form, is associated with multiple risk factors including family history, being overweight and high blood pressure.
"It's important to get checked sooner rather than later as Type 2 diabetes can develop progressively over a number of years, with classic symptoms such as extreme tiredness, increased thirst and needing the toilet often not being obvious as warning signs.
"People who are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes may delay or prevent the onset of diabetes by pursuing a healthier diet and lifestyle, maintaining an ideal weight for their height, reducing their alcohol intake and avoiding smoking.
"We would like to encourage as many people as possible in the local community to take advantage of the new Type 2 diabetes screening service.
"You don’t need an appointment and the pharmacy staff will be happy to run a quick check and talk through how to manage the condition correctly."