Diabetics & Fasting: Expert Opinion on staying healthy during Ramadan

With fasting hours stretching over 15 hours this year, Ramadan in summer is exceptionally challenging in India. From being wary about the type of food one must consume during Sehri and after Iftar to the kind of fluids one must include, a quick medical consultation can help manifold to manage blood sugar levels during the holy month.

Chronicdiseases like diabetes are highly personalized in nature and differ in symptomsfrom patient to patient, as a thumb rule, it is important to consider a medicalconsultation with your doctor to ensure complete knowledge and self- awarenessabout your body and condition before you undertake a fast. 

It isimportant for diabetics to stringently monitor their food and water intake,medication and blood sugar levels during this time to quell any complicationsthat would arise due to fasting. The inability or ignorance of patients inmonitoring these indicators could lead to the following complications;

a)    Longfasts or deprivation of food for extended periods of time, could put diabeticsunder the risk of developing hypoglycaemia- where blood glucose levels fallbelow 4 mmol/L. Some of the main symptoms associated with this condition include excessivesweating, frequent urination, fatigue and dizziness. If faced with any of thesesymptoms, patients are advised to consume fast-acting carbohydrates such assweets, sugary fizzy drinks or fruit juice to bring sugar levels back tonormal. It is also advised to drink plenty of water and fluids and ensureproper rest.

b)   The risk of developing DiabeticKetoacidosis: On the other end of the spectrum, it is possible to develop highblood glucose levels during fasting if patients do not take their prescribedmedication. This would run the risk of developing Diabetic Ketoacidosis- acondition where the severe lack of insulin in the body would hamper thebreaking down of glucose for energy, and instead lead to the build-up ofKetones. This build-up if left unchecked could cause the body to become acidic(acidosis), a life-threatening condition which would lead to hospitalizationand other complications. Do not neglect taking your medications while fastingand constantly monitor your blood glucose levels during this time. 

Allthings considered, despite getting the ‘ok’ from your doctor if you facesymptoms like nausea, excessive urination, headaches, dizziness and increasedgeneral fatigue, make sure to get immediate medical attention to avoid thingsspiralling out of control. Your health and wellness should be the foremostconsideration under any or all contingencies. 

Articleto be attributed to: Dr. Sweta Choudhury, Head -Medical Product & Services from Nightingales Home Health Services

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