YESTERDAY marked the final day of Diabetes Awareness Week, a week dedicated to raising awareness of the support available to people with diabetes, their friends and their families.

I know how important this is because my dad was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a couple of years ago, which unfortunately is not uncommon in older Asian men.

I remember at the time of his diagnosis how worried our whole family was.

However, once we sought out the necessary information we were reassured that this was something he could manage.

Diabetes Awareness Week is more vital now than ever before – we now have an all-time high of 276,000 people in Scotland living with diabetes, more than double than in 2002.

80% of the money spent by the NHS on diabetes is due to preventable complications, it is clear that there is more we can do.

There are many helpful carelines and support groups available.

However, people with diabetes often have to seek out support themselves, whether soon after their diagnosis or when they find themselves struggling.

Last year, the Scottish Government launched its Diabetes Improvement Plan which works with the NHS in Scotland to ensure that every patient diagnosed with diabetes is provided with structured education.

Whether Type 1 or Type 2, diabetes is manageable with support and proper knowledge of the condition.

Diabetes Awareness Week also gives us the chance to raise awareness about the risks and symptoms of diabetes.

An estimated 49,000 people are living with undiagnosed Type 2 diabetes in Scotland – many of whom could face serious health problems in the future if the condition is not recognised and managed.

Some of the symptoms of both types of diabetes include thirstiness, frequent urination, tiredness and unexplained weight loss.

If you have noticed any combination of these symptoms in yourself or a family member then please do get in touch with a doctor.

There are groups of people who are at a higher risk of diabetes including people who are overweight or particularly heavy around the waist, the elderly and people with family members with diabetes.

Certain ethnic groups are at a particularly high risk – African, Caribbean, Chinese and people of South Asian descent are far more likely to develop diabetes than, for example, white Europeans.

Diabetes Scotland have developed a number of excellent programmes in Glasgow to help reach out to people from these communities and provide additional support.

These include Chinikum at Home which encourages people from South Asian communities to talk about their diet and reduce the stigma of diabetes, as well as Diabetes at your Fingertips which provides educational support to elderly people from minority ethnic backgrounds.

Thursday last week was the first day of Ramadan, the time of year when many Muslims across the world fast during daylight hours.

During this time there is a higher risk to people with diabetes – of low blood sugar during fasting hours and of high glucose levels following the break of fast.

For information on how to manage your diabetes during Ramadan visit

Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslim readers.