Overeating during Ramadan doubles medical emergencies in UAE

Overeating during Ramadan doubles medical emergencies in UAE

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

By Jasmine Al Kuttab

Published: Mon 28 May 2018, 3:12 PM

Last updated: Mon 28 May 2018, 6:51 PM

Doctors in the UAE are urging people to not overindulge during Iftar and Suhoor, warning that patients admitted to the emergency departments have doubled since the beginning of Ramadan, due to overeating. 
"We are receiving too many patients with abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea in Ramadan, it is really too much now. Sometimes we receive an entire family all at once," said Dr Ola Nagi Ibrahim, General Practitioner - Emergency Medicine, Bareen International Hospital. 
Dr Ibrahim said the majority of the cases received are gastroenteritis, an infection of the gut, which causes severe stomach pain, diarrhea and vomiting.
The department is receiving around 15 patients each day in Ramadan, which is 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 medication after they're admitted to the hospital."
Dr Ibrahim said unhygienic food is also causing a rise in patients admitted to the emergency department.
"Food can easily be spoiled and infected in the summer. My top advise is to ensure the food is hygienic and safe to consume." 
Dr Shafqut Jalal, Assistant Head of the Emergency Department, Universal Hospital, said the ward is also receiving more patients in Ramadan, due to overindulging in food.
 The hospital is receiving around 6-10 patients a day of gastritis-related cases.
 "The numbers have doubled in Ramadan," said Dr Jalal.
 She warned that a lot of people also prefer to eat Iftar outside, which is cooked in the bulk, and at times unhygienic.
"Spicy food is also causing more cases of upset stomachs in Ramadan." 
She said diabetics who are fasting without prior consultations with their doctors, are also commonly being admitted to the hospital. 
"They are suffering from low blood sugar and have symptoms of sweating, confusion and dizziness."
Moreover, Dr Jalal said there has also been a rise in burn victims.
 "Burn injuries are very common in Ramadan, especially the helpers and cooks at home."
She stressed that most burn injuries are caused by cooking 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 victims in Ramadan, due to speeding near Iftar time.
"There's no need to rush if you're driving and it's near Iftar time. It is better to be late, than sorry," she warned.   
Dr Magdi Mohamed, Consultant - Emergency Medicine, 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 quantity and quality," he said.
"The meal should be low in fat, because fatty food is difficult to digest. It will cause stomach pain and dehydration."
He said eating food rich in protein, vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates is key.
Dr Mohamed added that around one-third of all patients coming into the emergency unit during Ramadan are related to gastro intestinal disorders. 
"We are seeing a growing number of cases because of the large quantity of food and the lack of quality of the food the people are eating."
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."
Moreover, coffee "addicts" are also being admitted to the hospital.
"They develop headaches during Ramadan, because they are suddenly cutting-off something that they consume heavily -  and suffer from withdrawal symptoms."

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