Diet & Nutrition Last updated on 2021-03-16 13:22:23
How to Manage Diabetes During Ramadan Fasting
- Dt. Pooja Bohora
- 3 Min Read
For those with diabetes, fasting during Ramadan can be a challenge to their health. Diabetes patients should always consult with their healthcare provider before going on a fast. Patients suffering from type-1 and type-2 diabetes may face multiple risks associated with blood glucose levels. Some of the various risks associated with diabetes and fasting include dangerously low blood glucose (hypoglycemia), extremely high blood glucose (hyperglycemia), diabetic ketoacidosis and thrombosis (blood clots). Overview of complications associated with fasting and diabetes Mentioned below is a brief overview of the various complications that occur in diabetes patients during Ramadan fasting:
- Diabetic ketoacidosis - When the body doesn’t have enough glucose, the cells start to burn fat instead, in order to provide energy. This burning of fat produces a waste product known as ketones. Ketones turn the blood acidic which can be dangerous for the diabetes patient. The risk of this happening increases more when there is a reduction in the level of the hormone that lowers sugars. This happens when the food intake reduces during fasting.
- Hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia - Hypoglycemia is the fall of blood sugar levels below the normal range and hyperglycemia is the rise of blood sugar levels above the normal range which may lead to diabetic ketoacidosis in patients with type-1 diabetes.
- Dehydration and Thrombosis - Fasting during Ramadan can often result in dehydration due to lack of fluid intake. This causes blood to become thicker and result in clotting known as thrombosis. It is important for those fasting on Ramadan to drink plenty of water or fluids when they break their fast. Staying properly hydrated after breaking the fast can help in preventing dehydration and conditions associated with it.
- Monitor blood sugar level - It is extremely important for diabetes patients to check their blood sugar levels multiple times during the day if they choose to fast. This is especially important for patients who are on diabetes medications. Ideally, it is recommended that they check their levels four times a day- between 10 AM and 11 AM, between 3 PM and 4 PM, 3 hours after breaking the fast or iftar, before Sahoor or eating during daybreak. If either hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia is noticed then one should break the fast immediately to prevent causing any more serious complications.
- Managing nutrition - During iftar or breaking the fast, it is recommended to avoid large meals rich in fat and carbohydrates. The fast should be broken with a small amount of food with simple carbohydrates as they can be absorbed very quickly such as dates and milk. For the Sahoor meal or the meal that is taken before the fast, foods that are rich in complex carbohydrates are recommended such as whole grains and vegetables as they take more time to get digested and keep the body energized for longer hours.
- Exercise - Exercising during fasting, especially before Iftar is strictly not recommended as it can lead to hypoglycemia. People with diabetes should also avoid sleeping before Iftar so that they can remain cautious about signs of hypoglycemia as it is more likely to occur during the later hours of fasting.
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