Diabetics should seek doctor’s advice before fasting

Individuals who are diabetic or at high risk of diabetes and plan to fast should seek their doctor’s and dietitian’s advice before Ramadan to adjust their dosage and diet, says Anjum Ara, Clinical Dietitian, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Sat 27 Jul 2013, 9:07 AM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 6:44 PM

Diabetes mellitus is a group of diseases characterised by high blood glucose concentrations (hyperglycemia) resulting from defects in insulin secretions, insulin action or both. Insulin is a hormone produced by the B-cells of the pancreas that is necessary for the use or storage of body fuel or energy.

Non-modifiable risk factors for diabetes could be hereditary, ethnicity, gender or family history. There are other secondary causes such as trauma, surgeries, certain drugs or medications, environment, lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits and lifestyle.

Health promotions through community based exercise programmes, health education at a young age in schools and adoption of more healthy traditional diets may help to prevent this disease from becoming a pandemic.

Fasting has a lot of health benefits too. It promotes spiritual, mental, emotional and physical wellbeing. It also de-stresses, relieves tension and helps in combating migraine. Fasting is a great cleanser and purifier. It is also an effective and safe method of detoxifying the body and melts away kilos too.

A diabetic individual should be aware of the possible complications while he/she is fasting.

These include:

>High blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia) as result of eating carbohydrate rich meals at iftar and /or suhoor

> Low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia) due to improper balance of food or intake of less food, irregular monitoring of blood glucose levels, taking high doses of insulin or medications with insufficient meal

>Constipation due to faulty eating habits, lack of activity

>Diarrhea because of faulty food habits, indigestion, lack of awareness of healthy foods, food hygiene

>Dehydration due to insufficient intake of fluids

>Increase in weight, tiredness, lethargy, anemia, loss of weight, insomnia are problems seen if the individuals are not mindful of the quality and quantity of their meals.

Healthy tips

> Take moderate size meals. Know how much is too much?

> Consume low fat foods at Iftar

>Avoid heavy and fatty foods at dinner later.

>Eat high fibre foods and choose low glycemic foods like fresh salads, whole meal cereals, sprouts and fruits.

>Avoid excessive sugar intake, sugary foods and sweets at the time of iftar.

>Do not skip meals.

>Stay hydrated during the non-fasting hours.

>Do gentle exercise for 30 minutes minimum per day.

>If on insulin, check blood sugars regularly and take a suitable diet.

>In addition to diabetes, if one has hypertension, cardiac problems, irritable bowel syndrome (digestive problems) or any other medical problem, seek the advice of the doctor and adjust diet accordingly.


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