Managing Diabetes during Ramadan

ramadan and diabetes

Ramadan and Diabetes

Several of the world’s great religions recommend a period of fasting or abstinence from certain foods. Of these, the Islamic fast during the Muslim month of Ramadan is strictly observed every year. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It is a time when all Muslims all around the world focus on praying, fasting, doing charity, and religious devotion. Fasting during the holy month of Ramadan is an important spiritual practice. If you are diagnosed with diabetes you may wonder how fasting during Ramadan will affect your health. There are a lot of misconceptions about diabetes and fasting during Ramadan. The following article will help you understand how to manage diabetes while fasting during Ramadan.

What happens to the body while fasting?

While fasting when we don’t eat anything for 8 hours, our body starts using the energy stored from our last meal to keep our sugar levels normal. For normal people, it is not harmful. But in the case of a diabetes patient, the body cannot use the glucose. Especially if the patient has taken certain tablets or insulin this increases the risk of hypoglycemia which means low blood sugar levels. Another problem that can arise for diabetes patients is the high blood sugar levels following the larger meals that they eat before and after fasting in Ramadan. Most people with diabetes condition are exempted of fasting.

Fasting and Diabetes

Type 1 Diabetes: – Fasting is very risky for people who are suffering from type 1 diabetes. However, people with well-controlled type 1 diabetes who use insulin pumps can often accomplish fasting by adjusting their basal infusion rates and monitoring their blood glucose levels frequently.

Type 2 diabetes: – In the case of people with type 2 diabetes who intake medicines other than insulin or sulfonylureas, the risk of hypoglycemia is low in such cases. While fasting during Ramadan, people are prohibited from taking oral medication during daylight hours. People suffering from diabetes usually take metformin 3 times daily should then take two-thirds of the dose at the sunset meal and one-third at the predawn meal.

Risks Factors Associated With Fasting In Patients with Diabetes

High-risk factors: – People who fall under the following category or are suffering from any of the followings are advised not to fast during Ramadan:-

  • Type 1 diabetes.
  • Using insulin injections more than two times a day.
  • Poor control over diabetes.
  • Frequent low blood sugar levels.
  • High blood sugar levels.
  • Kidneys, liver or heart diseases.
  • Acute illness.
  • During pregnancy.

Moderate Risk: – People who fall into the category of moderate risk are advised to fast only with doctor’s advice.

  • Moderate control over diabetes and no major complications of diabetes
  • Well-controlled diabetes with medicines.

Low Risk: – People who fall under the category of lower risk should be able to fast with advice.

  • Diabetes controlled with diet.
  • Well-controlled diabetes.

Tips for Diabetes Patients to Keep In Mind While Fasting During Ramadan

Following are some of the things you should keep in mind if you have diabetes and you are fasting during Ramadan.

  • The type of insulin you need may keep changing from your usual type.
  • You are required to take less insulin during Ramadan before the start of the fast.
  • Pre-mixed insulin is not recommended during fasting.
  • Check your blood glucose levels more often than normally.
  • Before starting the fast, you should include more slowly absorbed food in your meal.
  • When you break the fast while Ramadan, have only small quantities food, and avoid only eating sweet or fatty foods.
  • At the end of fasting, you should drink plenty of sugar-free and decaffeinated fluids to avoid being dehydrated.
  • Try to eat just before sunrise, when you commence the next day’s fast.

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