People suffering from diabetes who intend to fast during the month of Ramadan are being advised to take several precautions by Qatar Diabetes Association, as the number of people suffering from diabetes is increasing sharply every year here.
The prevalence of diabetes in Qatar was estimated to be 20 percent in 2011, up from 16.7 percent in 2008, and around 215,000 people in the country suffer from the disease, according to the Qatar Diabetes Association
To help these patients, Qatar Diabetes Association has issued safety measures which will create awareness on the precautionary steps, balanced diet and constant monitoring of the blood sugar level during the month of Ramadan.
People with type 1 diabetes and using insulin are advised not to fast, yet if they are keen it’s essential to consult a doctor to determine the ability to fast and get necessary instructions and follow medication as per medical advice, according to a member of the Association’s scientific committee, Dr Najaty Bsaiso.
Losing weight can lead to better control of diabetes during Ramadan due to a changed diet during the fasting period, but it is important to have a balanced diet that includes all types of food, and to avoid overeating, says Dr Bsaiso.
Fasting can also help maintain greater balance in glucose levels in blood.
Dr Bsaiso advises people with diabetes to have plenty of liquids during the evening, but they should be free of sugar and caffeine to avoid dehydration.
If a person with diabetes decides to fast, consulting a doctor and doing blood tests is necessary because fasting may steeply bring down the glucose level in blood, which can lead to hypoglycaemia. If symptoms of low blood sugar occur and the level reaches 60 mg/dl, the person should break the fast and take glucose tablets or juice and then have a snack, according to Dr Bsaiso.
“Controlling food is one of the most important elements of managing diabetes. Trying to reduce weight to the ideal weight, avoiding weight gain during Ramadan by decreasing the total amount of food, avoiding eating large quantities during iftar and a light meal for suhoor can help,” says Dr Bsaiso.
“We also advise people with diabetes to reduce fat intake by avoiding fried foods and oil, which are frequently consumed during Ramadan, as well as to avoid sugars and sweets, in particular between iftar and suhoor.”
Dr Bsaiso suggests eating “food rich in fibre, such as brown bread, as well as a lot of fresh vegetables, because they are rich in fibre, and drinking a lot of fluids and non-sweetened liquids during the evening and with suhoor, especially in this region where temperatures are high and the period of fasting will be long.”
People with diabetes can engage in physical activities as usual, but should rest in the afternoon and shouldn’t exercise between the Asr and Magreb prayers because the blood sugar level can be low during that time.
Any change in the dosage of medicine during Ramadan would depend on the patient’s needs and condition, Dr Bsaiso said.
“A patient who takes Metaformen should take the same dosage, and it should be divided into two by taking it at iftar and suhoor. This is applicable to patients taking Rosuglyatzone and Bioglytizone, but they should seek a doctor’s advice as the suhoor dose can be reduced,” he said.
“Those who use Fonayloyoria have to see their doctor to change the dosage or medicine, if necessary. The medicine should be taken immediately after Magreb and before iftar if the dosage is low. Large dosages should be divided into two, before iftar and suhoor; the iftar dose should be one-third to two-third bigger than the suhoor dose.”