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May 04 , 2016

Ramadan & Diabetes

Ramadan is one of the five main pillars of Islam. Muslims fast during this period. Quran exempts people who are sick and ill from the duty of fasting.
But a study on Muslims with diabetes in 13 Muslim countries has shown that 43% Type I and 79% Type II fast during Ramadan.

What are the risk factors of fasting for people with diabetes in Ramadan?

The risk factors are:

  1. Hypoglycemia (low blood sugars).
  2. Hyperglycemia (increased blood sugar levels).
  3. Dehydration.
  4. Diabetic ketoacidosis.


Management includes assessment and counseling.

  1. Medical assessment:
    For patients those who are keen on fasting should get a proper medical assessment done. Appropriate medical advice has to be taken about management at home.
  2. Educational counseling:
    It is essential that the patient and their family receive appropriate education on self care, treating hypo and hyperglycemia, meal plans, medication.

Key point for patients:

A.      The diet during Ramadan should be well balanced.
B.      Slow energy releasing foods like wheat, whole grains, whole pulses, and salads to be taken before and after fasting.
C.      Try avoiding deep fried items or which are high in saturated fats.
D.     Include good amount of fiber as it gives satiety and also helps in releasing the glucose slowly.
E.      Avoid eating lot of sugary items.
F.      Drink sufficient water between Iftar and sleep to avoid dehydration.
G.      Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a diuretic, try decreasing gradually a week before Ramadan, as sudden decrease in caffeine prompts to headaches or mood swings.
H.     It is recommended that everyone indulges in light exercise.
I.        Eat real foods no processed or junk foods.
J.        Eat normal sized, nutritious meals at Sahoor and iftar.
K.      Choose a diet rich in fruit, vegetables, beans, lentils rice and grains.
L.      Keep a check on the blood glucose level.