Are You a Diabetic and Fasting During Ramadan?

Fasting is an important spiritual practice followed by most Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. The Holy Quran says that pregnant and lactating women and those with diabetes or other serious ailments can abstain from observing the fast, that lasts from morning till evening, to avoid health complications. But, many diabetic patients claim that they did not have any health issues while fasting.  This does not mean that it will be the same for all diabetics. It is best to get your doctor's advice and take necessary precautions while fasting.

The main concern for diabetics observing the fast is the long gap between meals, which is nearly 15 hours. This can create severe health problems as they are supposed to have their meals at regular intervals. Patients who suffer from Type 1 Diabetes are more likely to face complications when compared to those who suffer from Type 2.

A lot of risk factors are involved for fasting diabetic patients.  The two major problems that they are likely to experience are Hypoglycaemia and Hyperglycaemia.

  1. Hypoglycaemia – This happens when the blood sugar level of the patient suddenly falls making the patient dizzy and sometimes unconscious. Consult your doctor for a preventive measure that can bring your blood sugar level to normal should you become hypoglycaemic.
  1. Hyperglycaemia – This relates to a sudden increase in blood sugar level. You might eat more than you are supposed to when you break the fast and this can suddenly spike your sugar levels. Eat moderately. Reduce eating of sweets. Symptoms of an increase in blood sugar level include blurred vision, increased fatigue and thirst.

Many treatment options are available for relieving both hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia. Apart from allopathy, Ayurveda also has medicines and treatments to balance blood sugar levels. 1mg and HealthKart are recommended online stores that sell Ayurvedic products for diabetic patients.

Take proper medication and also protect your body from getting dehydrated by taking sugar-free drinks till you break the fast. Here are some health tips to follow during Ramadan that can help you:

  1. Include curd, fruits (guava, yelakki banana, etc.) and vegetables in your diet rather than munching on sweets and caffeine products.
  2. Do not consume any fried foods.
  3. Go to sleep only after an hour of your last meal.
  4. Eat a balanced meal at dawn that includes more of carbohydrates and protein.
  5. Eat only 1-2 dates per day. Avoid eating sweets during Iftar.
  6. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration. Drink fluids without sugar.
  7. Do not overeat during Iftar.
  8. Take proper medication. You can change your medication according to your blood sugar levels so that it does not affect your health.
  9. Check your glucose level throughout the day and break your fast if it is too low!
  10. Follow safe and healthy diet plans. Consult a dietician to help you formulate the right diet plan.

When it comes to food, always remember that you are a diabetic and you are supposed to eat in moderation.  The best food to eat for diabetics is:

  1. Whole wheat Roti, Chapati, Paratha, etc. with less oil.
  2. Fish (if you are a non-vegetarian).
  3. Pulses and vegetables in plenty.
  4. Low-fat yoghurt.
  5. Fruits that can be consumed by diabetic patients like Guava, Yelakki Banana, etc.

Observing fast during the month of Ramadan is indeed sacred. But observing it at the risk of your life is not the right way.  So, follow your doctor's advice and ensure that you maintain a healthy balance of your blood sugar levels.

Additional Reading:

Creating Your Diabetic Diet and Loving It

Managing Diabetes During Ramadan

All Natural Products For Diabetes Control

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