Monitoring of Blood Sugar Levels, Taking Correct Medication and Watching Diet All Essential for Safe Fasting
Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Diabetes sufferers can fast during Ramadan – but they do need to take precautions to safeguard their health, according to Dr. Ahmed El Hakim, Senior Advisor to Spanish pharmaceutical company, Cinfa.
The UAE has a diabetes rate of 19 percent, among the highest in the world, according to the World Health Organization and the International Diabetes Foundation. While millions of diabetes sufferers around the world fast safely during Ramadan every year, people with type 2 diabetes may be seven times more likely to be admitted to hospital while fasting, making management of blood sugar levels essential.
“While many people choose to follow Ramadan rituals and fast despite their medical condition, it is essential that they do not harm themselves while doing so,” said Dr. El Hakim, Senior Advisor to Cinfa, a European drugs maker with a history of leadership in providing accessible care for diabetic patients. “Monitoring of blood sugar levels, taking the right medication and being careful about diet are all key to fasting safely.”
Diabetes sufferers should consult with a medical practitioner before undergoing fasting, as the potential risk to health – both short-term and long-term – may be just too severe, Dr. El Hakim said.
For those sufferers who do choose to fast, regular self-monitoring of blood sugar levels is strongly advised, and diabetics should be prepared to stop fasting immediately if there is any issue, before levels get out of control and medical treatment is required.
With meal times dramatically changed during Ramadan, many people find themselves following very different diets than they do for the rest of the year. While medical experts encourage everyone to try to follow a healthy diet during Ramadan, for diabetics it is especially important to watch what they eat.
“The practice of eating large meals rich in fat and carbohydrates when breaking your fast should be avoided so you aren’t affected by sudden spikes in blood sugar,” Dr. El Hakim said. ‘Eating foods containing plenty of complex carbohydrates is better done at the predawn meal, as these will be slow to digest. It is also important to increase your fluid intake during non-fasting times.”
“Fasting is a very important personal choice, and one that millions of Muslim diabetics take every year extremely safely,” Dr. El Hakim said. “Simple but essential steps can help ensure that risks are averted.”