Fasting during Ramadan is an important spiritual practice for Muslims worldwide, but for people suffering from diabetes, it can be a challenging month.
If you are suffering from diabetes yet looking to fast during this holy month, it is important to know that fasting can be complicated, especially when you have diabetes. To help manage your blood glucose levels during the fast, it is imperative to seek guidance from doctors and nutritional therapists.
Dr Abdul Jabbar, Consultant Internal Medicine and Endocrinologist at Medcare Hospital Al Safa, says, "Before diabetic patients decide to observe a fast, they should consult a doctor to ensure their health condition is stable and that they can safely fast. During the consultation, the doctor will evaluate the patient's overall health status, blood glucose control, and medication regimen. They will then provide guidance on how to adjust these factors best to ensure safe fasting.”
Dr Jabbar also emphasises the importance of nutritional therapy in helping diabetic patients manage their condition. Nutritional therapy involves using food and nutrients to control and prevent health conditions and can provide guidance on what food to eat and when to eat them. This can help patients adjust their medication dosages to maintain stable blood sugar levels.
During the consultation, the doctor will evaluate the patient's overall health status, blood glucose control, and medication regimen. They will then provide guidance on how to adjust these factors best to ensure safe fasting.
But what exactly is diabetes, and how does it affect the body? Dr Yasmeen Ajaz, Specialist Endocrinologist at Medcare Hospital Al Safa, says, "Diabetes is a condition where the body is unable to properly use and store glucose (a type of sugar) from food. This results in high blood glucose levels, which can cause damage to organs and nerves over time."
Diabetes is usually managed with a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. However, fasting during Ramadan can complicate this management. "When someone with diabetes fasts, their body must rely on stored glucose to fuel its activities," explains Dr. Ajaz. "This can cause the blood glucose level to drop too low, which can be dangerous, and could lead to diabetic coma."
So, should patients with diabetes fast? The answer depends on the individual's health status and the severity of their condition. It's important to consult with a doctor before deciding to fast.
When someone with diabetes fasts, their body must rely on stored glucose to fuel its activities. This can cause the blood glucose level to drop too low, which can be dangerous, and could lead to diabetic coma.
When it comes to food, there are no special guidelines on what to eat during iftar and suhoor for diabetes patients. However, Dr Jabbar recommends eating a balanced meal with protein, fibre, and healthy fats to prevent blood sugar spikes and dips. It's crucial to follow the doctor's instructions and guidance on food choices and medication management to avoid any potential health risks.
Dr Ajaz says, "Observing a fast is not only possible with chronic issues such as diabetes but done responsibly, with guidance from a medical professional, it may be good for you."
If you have diabetes and want to fast during Ramadan, it is important to consult a doctor and follow their guidance. Eating a balanced meal during iftar and suhour can help prevent blood sugar fluctuations and make fasting safe for diabetics.