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Ramadan and diabetes : Guidelines

Ramadan & Diabetis

Edited Version | Hyderabad | 27th April 2020

The holy month of Ramzan, also known as Ramadan ul Kareem is on and Muslims around the world are observing a fast for the entire month.

But there are certain do's and don'ts if you are a diabetic.

The holy month of Ramadan has begun and with it, the practicers of the Islamic faith will take part in fasting during the entire month of Ramzan celebration. During this one month of fasting - called a Roza - the break for fast in the morning is known as Sahri and the evening meal is known as Iftar. Roza is considered mandatory for all adult Muslims and only breastfeeding, pregnant or menstruating women are excused from the fast.

But what if you are a diabetic?

Diabetes management rests on controlling blood sugar levels and might prove challenging if you plan to fast during Ramadan. With a little preparation to manage your blood sugar levels can, however, go a long way and assist you in fasting.

Here are a few dos and don'ts to fast safely if you are a diabetic :

  • Consult your doctor.
  • This cannot be emphasised enough. Like you would for any kind of change in your dietary schedule, consulting your doctor prior to, during, and post-Ramadan is of utmost importance. A doctor that is in the know-how of your medical and diabetes history will help you assess whether it is safe for you to fast or not.

  • Check blood sugar level.
  • Most diabetic patients have a Glucometre - a glucose monitoring machine - at home. Consider checking your glucose level 4-5 times a day during the fast. A frequent check during the day will help you manage your blood sugar level since a change in your meal patterns can put you at a higher risk of experiencing high/low blood sugar levels.

  • Eat right.
  • To ensure your meals during Ramadan are a healthy mix of nutrients, including whole grain bread, low sugar cereals, beans and lentils in your diet is a good idea. Add in a generous serving of fruits and vegetables. Increase your fibre intake to avoid dehydration. Ensure you are eating protein-rich food items to feel less hungry during the fast.

  • Say no to empty stomach.
  • You should never take blood sugar lowering medication on an empty stomach. This might lead to an increased risk of hypoglycemia and can have serious implications to your health.

  • Don't fast.
  • Do not ignore any of the warning signs of low or high blood sugar levels and consult your doctor immediately. It is advisable not to continue fasting if blood sugar level goes below 70 mg/dL or if it goes above 300 mg/dL.

  • Avoid overeating and sugary drinks.
  • If you think overeating during Sehri can keep you full till Iftar, you are wrong. Do not overeat at any of those two times. Avoid deep-fried food, food rich in sugar, say no to fizzy drinks, or caffeinated beverages during the fast. These drinks have high sugar content and can lead to dehydration

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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