Important advice from Diabetes UK as people living with diabetes prepare for Ramadan

The charity Diabetes UK is providing support and advice for people in the Muslim community in Wakefield who live with diabetes, to help them stay healthy during Ramadan.
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This year, Ramadan will run for 29 or 30 days from on or around 10 March, ending with Eid al-Fitr, a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide. The Qur'an requires Muslims to fast during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset, but there are exceptions and people who are unwell or have medical conditions are not expected to fast. This includes people with diabetes.

Diabetes UK is encouraging anyone living with diabetes and preparing for Ramadan to speak to your diabetes team and your Imam to help you to decide how best to observe the holy month and manage your diabetes safely.

Douglas Twenefour, Head of Care at Diabetes UK, said:

Are you ready for Ramadan?Are you ready for Ramadan?
Are you ready for Ramadan?
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“Choosing whether to fast is a personal choice. However, getting information and advice ahead of Ramadan can help you decide whether it is right and safe for you to do so.

“Fasting affects your body in different ways and if you are living with diabetes there may be increased risks such as hypoglycaemia. There is also the risk of dehydration and hyperglycaemia which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) – a condition that can require emergency hospital treatment.”

Some people with diabetes choose to fast and Diabetes UK offers the following advice for those who do:

  • If you are unwell, do not fast and call 111 or speak to your healthcare team for further advice.
  • If you do choose to fast, before you start, include more slowly absorbed foods, such as basmati rice and dhal, in your meal along with fruit and vegetables.
  • During your fast, if you already check your blood sugar levels, monitor them more frequently. If your blood sugars are above your target range, break your fast with some water and treat as you normally would. If necessary, speak to your healthcare team.
  • When you break the fast, be mindful of portion sizes and keep oily, sugary or salty foods to a minimum.

Mr Twenefour added:

“If you are fasting and you feel unwell or you get symptoms of a hypo, check your blood sugars and, if you are, break your fast and take your usual hypo treatment followed by starchy food. If you’re feeling unwell, our advice would be to not fast.

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“It’s also important to know that taking diabetes medication or testing your blood sugar levels will not break your fast.”

Diabetes UK has more information, including free printed resources available in five languages, on diabetes and Ramadan at: Ramadan with Diabetes

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