Ramazan & Diabetes
Fasting in the month of Ramzan is a challenge for people with diabetes. Maintaining blood sugar levels while fasting is no easy task. Some risks associated with fasting for people with diabetes include hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), Diabetic ketoacidosis, dehydration, and thrombosis.
For the people with Type 1 diabetes, the consequences of prolonged fasting can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis especially when the patient has severe insulin deficiency. A breakdown of excessive glycogen takes place and it ultimately leads the patient in high blood sugar and ketoacidosis. On the other hand, people with Type 2 diabetes also experience high blood sugar levels if there is insulin deficiency due to prolonged fasting. Guidelines suggest that if the blood sugar goes below the normal diabetes level of 60mg/dl or exceeds 300mg/dL the fast must be broken otherwise it will worsen the condition.
Foods to Eat at Iftar
It’s important to take the right meal in order to break your fast at Iftar time, Food with low glycemic index/ low carb would be beneficial. These include full grain bread, brown rice and vegetables. Juices may be common at Iftar, but for people with diabetes, it’s better to have fruits in small portions rather than fruit juices in order to maintain your blood glucose. Olives are excellent sources of energy and they help to increase your HDL (good cholesterol). Divide daily calories between suhoor and iftar and ensure meals are balanced. It is better to minimize foods that are high in saturated fats e.g. samosa, pakora and ensure less amount of oil while cooking.
Try to avoid fried items and include baked samosa, pakora or lentil rolls in your iftar menu.
If a patient is willing to practice fasting, it is advisable to them to have complex food (slow digesting food) at the predawn meal which should be eaten as late as possible before the start of the daily fast which helps in delay digestion and absorption and can maintain BG throughout the day. The patient is also recommended to increase fluid intake during non-fasting hours. Anti-diabetics must be taken at the time of keeping fast. It is important to check your blood sugar levels frequently if you are diabetic and practice fast. In order to maintain blood sugar levels during fast check your BG directly before Suhoor and 3 hours after Iftar.
Attention should be paid to people’s overall well-being and to the control of their blood glucose levels, blood pressure, and lipids before keeping fast. People with diabetes should receive specific medical advice concerning the potential risks involved in fasting.