If you are diabetic don’t insist on fasting: Experts
DHA Twitter clinic offers tips for diabetic patients.
Dubai — A panel of specialist doctors on Thursday unveiled a set of precautions for diabetic patients who are fasting in the holy month of Ramadan. The health tips were disseminated through Dubai Health Authority’s Twitter Clinic @DHA_Dubai on Thursday. More than 70,000 followers of DHA Twitter Clinic received the information.
The panel of experts at the clinic included specialists from Dubai Hospital and the Dubai Diabetes Centre, a specialised multi-disciplinary diabetes care and management centre.
Dr M Hamed Farooqi, endocrinologist and director of the Dubai Diabetes Centre, said: “The most important step for any diabetic who chooses to fast is to ensure he/she takes advise from health practitioner to know whether it is safe to fast. Once that is ascertained, the patient needs to modify dosage of the medicine, usually lower the dosage, to ensure they maintain their sugar levels and avoid hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar reaction). Additionally, diabetic patients need to be on a proper meal plan and drink plenty of water during the non-fasting hours.”
Farooqi added: “During the first week, it is advisable to monitor the blood sugar multiple times a day. Recommended times are when the patient wakes up, later in the afternoon, before Iftar, two hours after Iftar and at Suhoor so as to understand the pattern of their blood sugar levels to adjust their medication, if needed. If the sugar level is erratic, the patient should visit their doctor.”
Farooqi elaborated: “Diabetics who are insulin dependent, primarily, type 1 diabetics are advised not to fast — permissible by the religion — because they are at a higher risk of developing hyper or hypoglycaemia. Yet, we find that there are some patients who insist on fasting. We advise them to work very closely with their health professionals to avoid major health problems, that may lead to a diabetic coma. Type 2 diabetics can fast after adjusting their medication in consultation with doctor.
“A drop or rise in the sugar level for diabetics can cause symptoms, like weakness, shaking of the hands, difficulty in speech, heart palpitations etc. Therefore as a precaution, all diabetic patients should always carry a sugar source such as glucose gel or tablets, fruit juice, sugar or honey.”
Dr Asma Banjab, paediatric endocrinologist at Dubai Hospital, said: “Most children with diabetes have type 1 diabetes and should avoid fasting as they fall under the high-risk category. As health care professionals, we strongly advise family members to refrain from allowing their children with type 1 diabetes to fast.”