Diabetics warned of dangers of fasting during Ramadan

By on 29/06/2012 in Cllr Bedser, News
Cllr Steve Bedser

Cllr Steve Bedser

Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, is backing a campaign to educate Birmingham diabetics about the dangers of fasting during Ramadan.

The Islamic month of Ramadan (2012: 20 July to 18 August) requires Muslims to refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

But going without food for long periods can affect blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes.

Speaking at the launch of ‘Stay Healthy at Ramadan’ - a campaign launched by diabetes awareness charity Silver Star and the South Asian Health Foundation - Cllr Bedser said: “Ramadan is a hugely significant month for Muslims in Birmingham and across the world and the Koran mandates fasting from sunrise to sunset. But, people with diabetes do not have to fast as religious laws state nobody should put their health at risk.

“If patients do still fast during this period there may be associated health risks and people with diabetes should consult their healthcare professional at least one month before Ramadan begins, so that a medical assessment can be undertaken and appropriate advice can be provided.”

For people with diabetes taking certain tablets and/or insulin, fasting carries the risk of developing a low blood sugar. It is also possible that people could develop high blood glucose levels during a fast if they don't take their medication or if they are less physically active than normal, which could lead to a life threatening condition called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).

If people with diabetes have any damage to eyes, kidneys, heart or nerves in the hands and feet, it would be advisable not to fast.

Diabetes UK guidance for people who fast during Ramadan:

  • Patients should speak to their healthcare team if they are planning to fast.
  • Patients should check their blood glucose levels more often.
  • Patients should continue a varied and balanced diet.
  • Diet should include more slowly absorbed foods that have a lower glycaemic index.
  • Patients should try not to have too many sugary and fatty foods.
  • When patients break the fast, they should ensure they drink plenty of sugar-free and decaffeinated drinks to avoid dehydration.

Further information can be found at http://www.diabetes.org.uk/

ENDS

For more information contact Geoff Coleman on 0121 303 3501

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