Caution Advised for Diabetics While Fasting

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Medical specialists, recently released a report stating that diabetics face the risk of falling into a coma when fasting during Ramadan.

Those with diabetics, are advised to consult their doctors about fasting during the holy month. Dr. Saleh Al-Jaser is a Diabetes and Endocrinology consultant in King Abdul Aziz Medical City at the National Guard. He advised diabetics to break their fast immediately if they felt their sugar levels fall.

Doctors Advise

The high temperatures of the UAE and long hours of fasting, can serve as two powerful ingredients in putting the health of such individuals at major risk.

Another suggestion given by the doctor, was to break their fast right on time, while having Suhoor (a pre-dawn preparation for fasting ) as late as possible, to reduce the amount of time spent fasting.

He believes that they can benefit from eating a lot more vegetable during Suhoor, and also a snack at midnight, to keep their sugar levels consistent.

At the time of breaking their fast, they are advised to keep foods with high levels of starch and sugar at bay. Indulging in such foods after long period of having no food, could lead to a sudden increase in the blood sugar level.

Characterizing Diabetes

When a person suffers from diabetes it means that their body does no have enough insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar levels. There are three main types of Diabetes: Type 1, here the body produces little or no insulin; Type 2, in this case, the pancreas may not create enough insulin or the body does not respond well to insulin; gestational diabetics, in this case there is a development of a high level of glucose in the body, and this can in tern lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Dates and water, may be the best way to begin Ifthaar. And then, after taking their medicines they can continue to consume other foods.

For patients who take insulin shots, Al-Jafer suggested that they change the timings and levels of their dosage because of the change of eating habits during Ramadan. The dosage can be determined by several analyses per day and understand sugar level fluctuations that take place through the day.

For Type A diabetics patients it would be better if they stop their fast if they feel a decrease in their sugar level. And a midday sugar level test is recommended for those who take 4 doses a day.

Abdulaziz Al-Turki, Chairman of Saudi Diabetes and Endocrine Association, suggested that diabetics should work with their doctors on modifying their treatment plan for Ramadan. The dosage timings, eating plan, activities need to be set in a way that do not cause a sudden rise or fall in their sugar levels.

Research Back-up

In a research reported in 2005, in Diabetes Care called Recommendations for Management of Diabetes During Ramadan, a large group of researchers and doctors, worked together to understand the effects of fasting on diabetics.

12,243 individuals from 13 Islamic countries participated in the study. Patients suffered some complications due to fasting. They found that although there is a possibility of developing hyperglycemia, due to long hours with out food it is not a very common case. However, sugar levels can drop greatly, and patients may often get close to being hyperglycemic.

Dehydration may be an issue, but it still can be controlled by balancing food and liquid intake during non-fasting hours.

The researchers suggested that along with a balanced diet, diabetics should not over exert themselves physically. As mentioned previously, they advised patients to end their fast immediately if they experienced hypoglycemia or a blood glucose level above 70 mg/di in the first few hours of the fast.

Therefore it is vital that diabetic patients make sure they monitor their health more closely during the 30 days of fasting, and adjust their health habits in a way that would suit them best and help them maintain optimum health.

Sources: Saudi Gazette, Diabetes Care

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