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Diabetes Management and Safe Fasting in Ramadan

If you plan to observe the fasts, here are some of the key points with respect to your eating habits and medication routine which you need to keep in the mind being an individual with diabetes.

  • Pre-Ramadan
  • Make sure your physician is aware of your plan to fast. If you are on medications for diabetes, make proper adjustments in medications as directed by your physician.

  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet
  • Make sure that you are staying away from high sugary, high- carb foods during the time of Sahur and Iftar. When breaking the fast, include plenty of water and have a healthy meal. Try to include more fruits and vegetables in your diet as it keeps you healthy and to maintain a good balanced diet. One should include fiber containing foods which helps to regulate the sugar levels at a slow pace. One who takes fasting should avoid oil fried items such as samosas, pakoras , fatty and salty foods, coffee and fizzy drinks as they results in dehydration.

  • Stay Hydrated
  • It is very important to stay hydrated during Ramadan. Include lots of fluids during Sahur and Iftar which helps you to stay away from hydration. You can also include slices of lemon, cucumber, mint or berries for a refreshing purpose. Try to reduce the physical activity during Ramadan to minimize the amount of water lost from your body.

  • Sugar check while you are on fasting
  • Take your regular checkup of blood sugar levels to avoid hypoglycemic events (low blood sugar), hyperglycemic events (high blood sugar) and dehydration.

  • Physical Exercise
  • It is advised not to start a new exercise routine during the time of Ramadan. Apart from high-lifting activities in gym it is advised to one can go for a walk, cycle or light jogging.

  • Avoid stress and sleep better during Ramadan
  • Protect your mental health during Ramadan. If stress doesn’t go away it affects your blood sugar level that can go high. One should sleep at least for four hours at night after Iftar, before waking up for Suhoor and Fajr.

  • Ramadan and Medication
  • Talk to your doctor about your fasting and get counseled about the intake of medicines in order to avoid any variations in blood sugar levels.

Types of Diabetes

There are two main types of diabetes which are as follows:

1. Hypoglycemia or Low Sugar

A fasting blood sugar of 70 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 3.9 millimoles per liter or below that can cause hypoglycemia or low sugar. Some major causes of hypoglycemia are not enough food at Suhur, overdoses of diabetes medication or heavy physical activities.

Symptoms for Hypoglycemia or low sugar are as follows:

  • Trembling
  • Sweating/chills
  • Palpitations
  • Hunger
  • Altered mental status
  • Confusion
  • Headache

Avoid such conditions by having a regular meal, reduce heavy physical activity during Ramadan and adjust the medication as per your doctor advice. Monitor your blood sugar level at home.

Hyperglycemia or High Sugar

A fasting blood sugar of 300 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL), or 16.6 millimoles per liter can cause hyperglycemia or high sugar. Some major causes of hyperglycemia are unhealthy meals, no physical activity and no proper medication.

Symptoms of Hyperglycemia or High sugar are as follows:

  • Frequent urination
  • Hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Increased thirst and a dry mouth
  • Blurred vision
  • Abdominal pain

Avoid such conditions by avoiding high sugary foods or carbohydrates that can affect your blood sugar level. Try to be as active as possible and take extra care when you are ill.

  • Post-Ramadan
  • After Ramadan, make sure you visit your physician and make proper adjustments in medication. Whether or not you take medications it’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle routine and follow good eating habits.