Fasting diabetics must do this thing every day

Diabetic patients urged to constantly monitor their sugar level while fasting (Shutterstock)

People with diabetes must constantly monitor their sugar level while fasting during the month of Ramadan, advised doctors at the Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA) smart clinic.

While people with diabetes are exempt from fasting during Ramadan, a study by the International Diabetes Federation, found that of the 38,000 Muslims surveyed, 93 per cent of patients with Type 2 diabetes fasted for at least 15 days, and 63.6 per cent fasted every day.

Worldwide, it is estimated that there are 148 million Muslims living with diabetes and, in the UAE, 1 in 9 people are diagnosed with diabetes.

Due to the metabolic nature of the disease, people with diabetes are at particular risk of complications from marked changes in food and fluid intake, which can occur while fasting. Potential health hazards include hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, dehydration and acute metabolic complications such as diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

This is a serious issue as in the UAE, 79.6 per cent of deaths under 60 are caused by diabetes.

To learn more about how people with diabetes can cope with fasting during the holy month, doctors from DHA answered the questions of the public who tuned in to the Smart Clinic on Periscope and Twitter.

“To begin with people with Type 1 diabetes should not fast and there are fatwas that exempt them from fasting. When it comes to other Type 2 diabetes, fasting is possible given that they first talk to their doctor who will help them cope with fasting,” said Mohammad Hassanein, Consultant Endocrinology at Dubai Hospital.

Hassanein said people with diabetes should break their fast if their sugar level drops below 70. “Experiencing a drop in one’s sugar level is more critical than experiencing a spike. People whose sugar level drops below 70 must break their fast immediately. Those whose glucose reading are above 300 must also break their fast, drink lots of water and call their doctor.”

To better understand how diabetics can deal with the holy month of Ramadan, Dubai Diabetes Center received a grant to conduct five research on the topic.

Dr Ahmad Saad Diabetes Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Dubai Diabetes Center said the symptoms of that one experiences when their glucose levels drop include dizziness, excessive sweating, shivering, extreme hunger, blurry eyesight and increase in the heartbeat. “On the other hand when the glucose level spikes, patients experience, dryness and frequent urination,” he said.

Dr Inaam Kandil, coordinator of Diabetes Education at the Dubai Diabetes Center, advised diabetics to focus on eating a diet rich in proteins and fiber, and avoid sugary foods and caffeine. “People with diabetes can have all type of food during Ramadan as long as it is a balanced meal.”

All doctors, however, emphasised the importance of continuously monitoring their blood level while fasting.

Dr Jalal Nafash, consultant endocrinologist at the Dubai Diabetes Center, said patients with diabetes should not exercise during Ramadan adding that performing the Taraweeh prayers provides the needed amount of exercise.


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