Fasting during Ramadan, a holy month of Islam, is a moral duty for all healthy adult Muslims. However, there are exceptions to this. Anyone who is ill or has medical conditions do not have to fast. This includes people with diabetes. If you are a diabetic patient and planning to fast, it is important that you speak to your diabetes healthcare team as early as possible before Ramadan begins.
Here we are highlighting some possible metabolic complications and how you can manage them.
Risks associated with fasting in patients with diabetes:
Hypoglycemia: Fall of blood sugar under the normal levels. Decreased food intake is a well-known reason for Hypoglycemia. How to Manage: Limit your physical activity during the fasting period and be more active after the sunset. Never miss your Suhoor meal and also consult with your doctor to modify medicine dosage & timings.
Hyperglycemia: Rise of blood sugar above normal levels. Overeating after the fast is broken is the main cause for this. How to Manage: Controlling the diet during Iftar meal. Check your blood sugar levels frequently throughout the day.
Dehydration: Due to the lack of fluid intake as well as the hot and humid weather, one may suffer from dehydration. How to Manage: Aim to drink sugar-free and caffeine free drinks frequently throughout the evening and before dawn.
Overall Management Goals During Ramadan Fasting:
For individuals with diabetes who are fasting during Ramadan, several things require specific consideration, including blood sugar monitoring, nutrition, and exercise. It is also important that the patients receive the necessary education towards self-care, symptoms of hyper-and hypoglycemia, blood glucose monitoring, meal planning, physical activity, and medication administration. Below are some goals to maintain a healthy Ramadan.
• The pre-Ramadan evaluation and risk stratification
• Promoting patient awareness with Ramadan-focused diabetes education
• Providing instruction on dietary modification
• Modification of the dosage and timing of diabetes medication
• Encouraging frequent monitoring of blood glucose levels