Sugar patients advised to plan carefully for fasting during Ramazan

Seminar on ‘Roza and Sehat’

Zubair Qureshi

In general, fasting is very challenging for people living with diabetes, particularly patients with type 1 diabetes, who are dependent on insulin. Muslims with diabetes who wish to fast must plan diligently for a safe and healthy Ramazan. Consultant Endocrinologist, Shifa International Hospital (SIH) Dr. Sheraz Khan said this in a seminar “Roza aur Sehat” “Fasting and Health’ organized by Shifa International Hospital here on Saturday. The seminar aimed at creating awareness in diabetic patients intended to observe fasting without harming their blood glucose level.
A large number of patients, doctors and people from all walks of life attended the seminar. It is important to note that SIH as its social responsibility organized this evet every year before Ramazan to educate people about their health problems and its solution regarding fasting.
Dr. Sheraz said that the approximate number of Muslims with diabetes is around 4.6%; it is estimated that there are about 50 million Muslims with diabetes around the world who observe fasting during the month of Ramazan each year. During the fast, Muslims are required to refrain from eating food, drinking, using medications, and smoking from dawn until sunset, with no restrictions on food or fluid intake between sunset and dawn.
Islam exempts people from the duty of fasting if they are sick, or if fasting may affect their health, as fasting for patients with diabetes carries a risk of an assortment of complications, including hypoglycemia, postprandial hyperglycemia, and metabolic complications, associated with dehydration.
Nevertheless, a large number of people with diabetes who still choose to fast during Ramazan despite the advice of their doctor, and the permission received from religious authorities thus create medical challenges for themselves and their health-care providers. It is thus important for patients with diabetes who wish to fast during Ramazan to make the necessary preparations to engage in fasting as safely as possible, he underlined.
Consultant Endocrinologist, Shifa International Hospital (SIH) Dr. Tayyab Badshah said that patients may be reluctant to self-monitor during Ramzan. Clinical experience suggests some patients may cease treatment altogether in order to observe the fast or because they feel changing time of treatment may render it ineffective. Unwillingness to self-treat hypoglycaemia symptoms by breaking the fast may lead to more severe hypoglycaemia. This represents a key challenge for patients with diabetes during Ramazan. He added that the Testing your blood glucose levels is important and it does not break the fast. If you have a blood testing meter, test your glucose levels regularly. Talk to your doctor or diabetes team before fasting. Look for signs of hyperglycaemia, hypoglycaemia and dehydration.
Make sure someone you know is aware that you are fasting. Always carry your glucose tablets, glucose gel or a sugary drink in case of a hypo.
This may need to be followed up with a snack like a piece of fruit, biscuit or half a sandwich. Finally, if you are sick it is important that you break your fast, he said.

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