Doctors speak: Here are dos and don’ts for diabetics navigating Ramadan fasting

2 mins read
ramadan fasting for diabetics

Srinagar: Doctors offer vital guidance for diabetic patients navigating Ramadan fasting, emphasizing health assessment, hydration, and professional consultation.

Senior Endocrinologist at Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Dr. Shariq Masoodi told The Kashmir Monitor that pre-Ramadan examination before fasting is vital for diabetes patients since it assesses the person’s sugar control and condition.

Dr. Shariq highlighted the necessity of evaluating sugar control and overall health conditions before embarking on the fasting journey. He explained the significance of risk stratification based on these assessments, categorizing patients into lower risk, moderate risk, or high risk of complications arising from fasting.

“Based on the evaluation risk stratification, it is determined whether the patient is at lower risk, moderate risk, or high risk of complications from fasting. For those at moderate risk, the need for continuous monitoring of sugar levels and seeking medical guidance before fasting is important. However, patients identified at high risk are strongly advised against fasting to prevent potential harm to their health,” he said.

 Emphasizing the religious allowance for individuals with high-risk health conditions, he said that in Islam, it is permissible to abstain from fasting if it poses a threat to one’s well-being. Nevertheless, he underscored the importance of professional guidance and adjustment of medications for patients with moderate risk to ensure a safe fasting experience.

“In Islam, it is permitted to skip the fast if it may impair the patient’s health, hence we advise diabetic patients at high risk of problems to skip the fast. However, if they still want it, we cannot interfere; instead, we guide them in the same way that we guide patients who are at moderate risk of problems. There is no reward for self-harm,” he said.

Dr. Shariq also urged diabetic individuals to engage in regular exercise and break their fast immediately upon encountering any complications. Furthermore, he advised those considering fasting without prior health assessments to promptly consult with a medical professional to mitigate potential risks.

“In these early days of Ramadhan, diabetic patients must not overlook the significance of consulting with their doctors. Seek guidance, undergo necessary tests, and ensure your health comes first,” Dr. Shariq said.

Dr. Shariq reminded diabetic patients to prioritize hydration, recommending the consumption of water in intervals during sehri and iftar. He emphasized the inclusion of water-rich vegetables and fruits as advised by healthcare providers to maintain optimal hydration levels throughout the fasting period.

Dr. Ashraf Ganai, an endocrinologist provided crucial advice for diabetic individuals intending to observe fasting during this holy period. With a focus on maintaining stable blood sugar levels and ensuring proper hydration

He underscored the significance of dietary adjustments, urging diabetic individuals to reduce carbohydrate intake and increase protein consumption during their meals. Additionally, he highlights the importance of staying hydrated by encouraging fluid intake at Sehri (pre-dawn meal) and Iftar (breaking of fast).

Recognizing the diverse health conditions of diabetic patients, Dr. Ganai stresses the necessity of consulting with healthcare professionals before embarking on fasting. He advises caution for individuals with high glucose levels and those reliant on insulin therapy, suggesting a shift in insulin administration to Iftar time to prevent hypoglycemia during the day.

“Patients having high glucose levels should consult doctors before having the fast. If someone is taking insulins, the insulins should be shifted to Iftar time rather than Sehri so that they will be safe from low sugar levels during the day,” he said.

While acknowledging the spiritual significance of Ramadan, Dr. Ganai emphasizes the need for diabetic patients to prioritize their health. He recommends that patients undergo random blood sugar checks throughout the day and promptly seek medical attention if levels fall below 100 or exceed 200.

 “Every diabetic patient has a different condition, a general guideline couldn’t be given to them which is why they need to consult their doctors before having the fast,” he said.

Moreover, Dr. Ganai encourages diabetic individuals to engage in moderate physical activity, such as offering Taraweeh prayers, as a beneficial form of exercise during Ramadan. However, he cautions against fasting for patients reliant on multiple insulin injections, emphasizing the importance of individualized medical advice in such cases.