Overeating cases double in UAE during Ramadan

Overeating cases double in UAE during Ramadan

Abu Dhabi - Dr Ibrahim said the majority of the cases received are gastroenteritis.

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Sun 27 May 2018, 10:53 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 May 2018, 12:55 AM

Doctors in the UAE are urging people to not overindulge during Iftar and Suhoor, warning that their emergency departments have seen double the number of patients since the beginning of Ramadan, due to overeating.

"We are receiving too many patients with abdominal pain, vomitting and diarrhoea in Ramadan: it is really too much now. Sometimes, we have an entire family coming in together," said Dr Ola Nagi Ibrahim, general practitioner - Emergency Medicine, Bareen Hospital.

Dr Ibrahim said the majority of the cases received are gastroenteritis, an infection of the gut, which causes severe stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomitting.

The department is receiving around 15 patients each day in Ramadan, double the cases received on regular days. "The majority of the cases we receive during the daytime are caused by dehydration and sunstroke, which need urgent resuscitation with IV fluids, whereas the majority of the cases we receive in the evening (post-Iftar) are related to gastroenteritis.

"People are eating too much in Ramadan and require hospital treatment."

Dr Ibrahim said unhygienic food is also causing a rise in patients. "Food can easily be spoiled and infected in the summer. My top advice is to ensure that food is hygienic and safe to consume."

'Eat quality, not quantity'

Dr Shafqut Jalal, assistant head of the Emergency Department at Universal Hospital, said the ward is also receiving more patients in Ramadan.

The hospital is receiving around 6-10 patients a day of gastritis-related cases.

She warned that a lot of people prefer to eat Iftar outside the home, and these meals cooked in the bulk, at times unhygienically. "Spicy food is also causing more cases of upset stomachs in Ramadan," Dr Jalal warned.

Diabetics fasting without prior consultations with their doctors, are also landing up at the hospital. "They are suffering from low blood sugar, with symptoms of sweating, confusion and dizziness."

Dr Jalal also noted a rise in burn victims. "Burn injuries are very common in Ramadan, especially among household helpers and cooks." She stressed that most burn injuries are caused by cooking with large amounts of oil and soup, which splatters and spills on the hands and body.

Dr Jalal, who previously worked at a public hospital, said emergency departments in government hospitals also receive more road accident vic-tims in Ramadan, due to speeding around Iftar time. "There's no need to rush if it's near Iftar time. It is better to be late than sorry," she warned.

Dr Magdi Mohamed, consultant - Emergency Medicine at Burjeel Hospital, said it is important for people to break their fast with dates, water and a light meal, such as soup or salad. "It is all about quality," he said.

"The meal should be low in fat, because fatty food is difficult to digest, causing stomach pain and dehydration." Eating food rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates is key.

Dr Mohamed added that around one-third of all patients in emergency during Ramadan have gastrointestinal disorders. "We are seeing a growing number of cases because of the large quantities of food consumed and its lack of quality."

Dr Mohamed said the department is also receiving more patients with kidney stones, urinary infection and migraine, due to dehydration in Ramadan. "It is crucial for people to drink enough water from Iftar until Suhoor."

Coffee addicts are also being admitted to the hospital. "They develop headaches during Ramadan, because they are suddenly cutting off something they consume regularly heavily, suffering withdrawal symptoms."


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