New Ramadan guidelines for diabetes patients

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New Ramadan guidelines for diabetes patients

Dubai - With a majority of Muslims viewing fasting as a deeply meaningful experience, many often participate against medical advice.


Kelly Clarke

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Published: Thu 14 Apr 2016, 4:09 PM

Last updated: Tue 19 Apr 2016, 6:41 PM

With Ramadan just around the corner and about 100 million diabetic Muslims planning to fast during the Holy Month, The Diabetes & Ramadan International Alliance (DAR) has just released the 'New Guidelines on Diabetes Management during Ramadan'.
In association with The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Middle East and North Africa Region and Emirates Diabetes Society (EDS), the guidelines- released at midnight on April 14- aim to facilitate the safe management of these patients while fasting.
Speaking at the launch, Dr Mohamed Hassanein, Chairman of DAR, said with 25 per cent of the global population noted as Muslim- 132 million of which are living with diabetes - advice regarding safe fasting as a diabetic has become a widespread issue. 
With a majority of Muslims viewing fasting as a deeply meaningful experience, many often participate against medical advice.
"Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam so people are hesitant to refrain from fasting. What we need to do is give them practical advice on how to do it safely."
These new guidelines will introduce a comprehensive review for effective diabetes management to ensure a safe experience during Ramadan including advice on mitigating health risks and individualised nutrition plans.
Levying the danger of fasting using a "red, amber and green method", the guidelines will aim to simplify whether and when you can fast.
However Dr Hussanein did say, medically speaking, those with "Type 1 diabetes, several associated health risks, and those who are pregnant" should refrain from participating.
The guidelines have been drawn up by 31 experts from around the world including medical professionals and religious scholars.
For Professor Magdy Ashour, Academic Advisor of the Grand Mufti of Egypt, it is imperative diabetic Muslims should not approach Ramadan with the attitude: "if I die fasting, I am a Martyr".
"People who choose to fast knowing it causes a great risk to their health are going against what the Holy Quran says about 'don't throw yourself to harm'."
He said Allah does not ask any Muslim to do things he cannot do, and urged those planning to fast without the advice or their doctor to rethink their plan of action.
Speaking to Khaleej Times, Dr Shaukat Sadikot, President-Elect of IDF said given that the guidelines are a world first, they plan to review the results in "one to two years", to analyse the results.
"What we will do is let the message spread out first, and then we will host an expert panel to see if the guidelines are working. We can then amend them if not be. My advice now would be to simplify them even more."
The management of people with diabetes during Ramadan is mostly based on consensus as medical studies are limited.
However, Hisham Mahmoud, Head of Medical Affairs at Sanofi Middle East Zone said at the end of this month it will be launching a study to see the challenges faced by diabetics fasting during Ramadan.
"It will trial 2,000 patients across 10 countries in the region. This new study will provide us with prospective results rather than retrospective ones."
The newly release guidelines have been released as part of the 4th DAR International Alliance congress taking place in Dubai from April 14-16.

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