Dubai, United Arab Emirates 21 April 2020: Muslims are required to fast during the holy month of Ramadan. However certain medical conditions like diabetes may be exempt from fasting especially if fasting may pose a risk or harm to their health.
Metabolic consequences of prolonged fasting combined with dietary changes and alterations to the dosage and timing of the medications can lead to complications ranging from high blood sugars (hyperglycemia), mildly low blood sugars (hypoglycemia) to more serious complications like severe hypoglycemia and diabetic ketoacidosis (high blood sugars with buildup of ketones). It may also lead to dehydration due to reduced fluid intake, warm temperatures and high blood sugars.
If you have diabetes and intend to fast during Ramadan, you should discuss this well in advance with your diabetes team so thata detailed personalised management plan can be put in place before Ramadan. Working together with your diabetes team will prepare you to fast safely and also help decide if fasting would pose a serious risk to your health and well-being.
Dr. Vikram Hundia specialty is Endocrinology & Diabetes at Al Zahra Hospital Dubai gives 7 useful tips for fasting safely during holy month of Ramadan:
1) Discuss with your diabetes team in advance if you plan to fast.
2) Make a clear written plan with your diabetes team about any changes to your insulin or oral diabetes medication dosage and timing to maintain satisfactory diabetes control and avoid hypoglycemia or other diabetes related complications.
3) Eat healthy balanced diet, avoiding excessive sugary or fatty foods
4) Include food with lower glycaemic index and foods that are slowly absorbed. Discuss this with your dietician.
5) Check your blood sugar levels more frequently
6) Drink plenty of sugar free fluids during nonfasting times to avoid dehydration. Avoid excessive caffeinated drinks.
7) If in any doubt or have any concerns, contact your diabetes team and seek help early.