Diabetics advised to be cautious while fasting
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Doctors have advised diabetic Muslims to exercise caution while fasting during the holy month of Ramadan.
Despite the serious health risks that fasting could pose to diabetics, recent research conducted by pharmaceutical firm MSD has revealed that more that 50 million people with diabetes continue to fast during Ramadan against the advice of healthcare professionals.
According to healthcare professionals at the conference, fasting during Ramadan is a personal choice, but diabetics must keep a constant check on their blood sugar levels.
Andrew Miles, Managing Director for MSD (Gulf Region) announced that one in five people suffer from diabetes in the UAE. “The figures are startling. If things continue at this rate, there will be more than two million diabetic people in the UAE by the year 2030,” added Miles.
Dr Ghida Kaddaha, Head of Diabetics Unit at Rashidiya Hospital said: “Fasting during the holy month is a matter of personal choice. But as a healthcare professional, I would advise patients to check their blood sugar levels every three to four hours if possible. In case the patient is hit with a bout of hypoglycemia (a condition that occurs when the blood sugar (glucose) is too low), he or she must end the fast immediately,”
Kaddaha informed that the incidence of patients coming into the emergency rooms of hospitals due to diabetes-related problems, during the holy month, has reduced substantially. “Awareness among diabetic patients has increased. Also, diabetic patients must maintain proper blood sugar for a healthy brain and body functioning,” she added.
Patients must also stay away from any kind of strenuous physical exercise, she said.
Miles added that diabetes is already a global epidemic that affect 366 million people, representing around 10 per cent of the world’s adult population. “In order to create greater awareness, MSD has already undertaken a wide variety of educational and awareness campaigns, including diabetes and cholesterol screening programmes,” he said.
Some of the incentives taken by the pharmaceutical include training nurses at hospitals, publishing cookbooks for diabetics and working alongside government and educational institutions.
Chef Hatun Madani gave a presentation on some foods that diabetics can eat during Ramadan. Madani is a mother of two diabetic children. She said,: “Diabetics crave more sweets and carbs than a normal person, but it can be dangerous for them to give into those cravings. When you are cooking for the family at home you can at least control the ingredients and what goes into each dish, so it’s easier to give your kids that balanced diet and create that healthy lifestyle”.