Cardiff Blues rugby star Jamie Roberts is backing a campaign to get people in the city to “know their facts” about diabetes.
There are an estimated 2,700 undiagnosed diabetics in the Cardiff area and Diabetes Cymru have enlisted the Wales rugby international to assist them.
He said: “With more and more people being diagnosed with diabetes every day in Wales, it is important that people properly understand the facts about the condition.
“If poorly controlled, diabetes can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, blindness and amputation whatever type you have.
“As a professional rugby player, I also want people to know that they can reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, by getting active, being a healthy weight and eating a balanced diet.”
50,000 postcards are being distributed around Wales in GPs surgeries and pharmacies in the country.
Dai Williams, National Director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: “As around one in 20 people are now diagnosed with diabetes in Wales, it is vital that people properly understand the condition.
“Sadly, many people still believe that Type 2 diabetes is less serious than Type 1 and many children in Wales experience bullying and discrimination because people wrongly believe that Type 1 diabetes is linked to being overweight.
“As people can live with diabetes without knowing it for up to 10 years, we also launched the campaign to help find the 50,000 people with undiagnosed diabetes in Wales to ensure they start receiving treatment before they develop the condition’s devastating complications.”
Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst and tiredness, going to the toilet to urinate more frequently, unexplained weight loss, blurred vision, slow-healing cuts and wounds and regular episodes of thrush and genital itching.