Fasting the safe way with diabetes

By Staff Reporter

Published: Sun 12 Jun 2016, 9:43 PM

Last updated: Sun 12 Jun 2016, 11:44 PM

dubai - While Ramadan is one of the most important months for the Muslim community, abstaining from food and water, from dawn to dusk, can be challenging for people suffering from conditions such as diabetes. As the blood sugar levels fall or rise, diabetics can experience weakness, fatigue and dehydration, among other symptoms.
The first thing to consider if a person is diabetic is that he or she is medically fit to fast, according to Dr. Omar Bedir Gatee, consultant, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, and Dr. Anita Das Gupta, Chief Clinical Dietician, at Burjeel Hospital, Abu Dhabi. Diabetics, who choose to fast, should visit a health practitioner to get the go-ahead to do so. Part of managing diabetes during Ramadan involves self-monitoring blood sugar levels through home kits, timely medication and the right diet - all of which are imperative to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar, shaking, perspiration, confusion) and hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), which if left unchecked can cause ketoacidosis (a diabetic coma).
Diabetics can suffer from dehydration, especially when their sugar levels rise, therefore, they need to hydrate themselves adequately - between dusk to dawn - while taking sufficient measures to maintain their sugar levels. The symptoms that indicate a drop or rise in the sugar level include weakness, hand tremors, slurring of speech and palpitations.
Low blood sugar (or hypoglycemia) is a risk for people taking insulin, or certain diabetes medications. It is also advisable to have something sweet at hand, such as fruit juice or dates, which can be consumed if patients experience symptoms linked to low sugar levels. But limit dates to 1-2 each evening during Iftar. Drink plenty of water and sugar-free beverages, and avoid caffeinated ones, as they can be dehydrating. Blood sugar levels can also rise after Iftar, as there is a greater risk to overeat. So avoid sweets and keep portion sizes moderate.

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