Ramadan: Diabetics do not have to fast

By on 26/06/2013 in Cllr Bedser, News

Birmingham diabetics have been urged not to put their health at risk by unnecessarily fasting during the forthcoming month of Ramadan.

Throughout Ramadan (2013: 9 July to 7 August) most Muslims are required to refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.

But diabetics are exempt from this if fasting would put their health at risk.

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

Birmingham Public Health is funding national charity Silver Star to provide healthcare advice to diabetics during Ramadan and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Steve Bedser, is keen to raise awareness of the different management options available to people with type 1 and 2 diabetes.

He 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 (in a number of languages) can be found here: http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Other_languages/

Ramadan prayer times for Birmingham: http://www.salahtimes.com/uk/birmingham/ramadan

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