MORE than 1,600 Southampton people are totally unaware they are at real risk of eye and kidney damage, as well as losing the feeling in their feet and hands.

That is the number of local people estimated to be suffering from Type 2 diabetes and who still remain undiagnosed.

Now the charity Diabetes UK, which has joined forces with the giant supermarket chain Tesco, has made an urgent appeal to anyone who believes they might have the symptoms of the illness to undergo a simple test.

“According to our research we believe at least 1,685 people are living with the condition but remain undiagnosed in Southampton,” said Jill Steaton, regional manager for Diabetes UK in the south east.

“As part of the partnership with Tesco, launched in Southampton at the Bursledon Towers supermarket, we are urging customers to be risk assessed for Type 2 diabetes.

“People in Southampton can find out their risk of Type 2 diabetes by visiting the Tesco pharmacy at Bursledon Towers.”

This is part of a major new initiative by the charity, which aims to create a healthier future for people affected by diabetes or at risk of developing it.

As well as promoting risk assessments as part of the partnership with Diabetes UK Tesco staff in Southampton will be raising thousands of pounds that will help fund pioneering research into a vaccine for Type 1 diabetes – the type not linked to lifestyle or weight – that offers real hope for thousands of children and adults across the globe for a future without this type of the condition.

The partnership will also provide information and advice to people with Type 2 diabetes as well as funding a series of “Living with Diabetes” days around the UK that will help people newly diagnosed to understand how to best manage their condition.