Throughout Ramadan (2016: 7 June to 6 July) most Muslims are required to refrain from eating and drinking during daylight hours.
But diabetics are exempt from this if fasting would put their health at risk. (Speak to your Imam for more information)
Going without food for long periods can affect blood sugar levels, which can be dangerous for people with diabetes.
And diabetics who do choose to fast are strongly advised to seek advice from a health professional before Ramadan.
Birmingham’s new Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Paulette Hamilton, said: “The very clear message for people with diabetes is that you do not have to fast if it will put your health at risk.
“Ramadan again falls during summer this year and that means the length of fasts can be 17 hours or more, increasing the risk of hypoglycaemia and dehydration.
“So anyone with complications associated with diabetes, such as poor vision, heart or kidney disease, runs a high risk of aggravating these conditions and should seriously consider not fasting.”
Cllr Hamilton, a former nurse, added: “Ultimately it has to be a personal choice based on whether you feel able to fast without it affecting your health. So, if you have diabetes and still intend to fast, you should speak to a healthcare professional to make sure you can look after yourself properly.”
Risks of fasting:
- If you have complications associated with diabetes, such as poor vision or heart or kidney disease, the risk of aggravating these is very high and you should seriously consider not fasting.
- For people with diabetes taking certain tablets and/or insulin, fasting carries the risk of hypoglycaemia. If you feel that you are having a hypo, you must break your fast and take some sugary fluids followed by starchy food, in accordance with scripture, as otherwise you will harm your body and may need medical attention.
- You may develop high blood glucose levels during a fast if you do not take prescribed medication or if you are less physically active than normal, which could lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a serious condition requiring hospital treatment.
Fasting during Ramadan factsheet from Diabetes UK https://www.diabetes.org.uk/Documents/Guide%20to%20diabetes/Ramadan/Ramadan-factsheet-English-20150315.pdf
The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) has updated their advice on how to control diabetes throughout the annual fasting period Ramadan.
The new guidelines were developed and written by the Diabetes and Ramadan (DAR) International Alliance with contributors from around the world, and has been approved by senior Muslim official Professor Sawky Ibrahim Allam.
Diabetes and Ramadan Practical Guidelines is available for free on the IDF website.