Here are the things you need to know if you are a diabetes patient and fasting during this holy month.
6 June 2017| Last updated on 26 February 2018
The importance of a Dietitian:
What risks should a diabetes patient be aware of?
- Low blood glucose (or hypoglycemia) – The risk of blood glucose levels going too low is highest in people taking insulin or certain diabetes pills. Limit physical activity during fasting hours and be more active after sunset. Talk with your healthcare provider to find out if your medicine puts you at risk for low blood glucose and discuss how to prevent it.
- High blood glucose (or hyperglycemia) – While low blood glucose levels may happen during the day after the fast is broken, there is a greater risk to overeat. Watch out for eating too many sweets and keep the portion sizes moderate. Even though Ramadan is known as a time of fasting – it is not uncommon for people to gain weight during this month, as in some families, every evening meal is a celebration.
- Dehydration – This is especially a problem during the longer and hotter summer days. Aim to drink sugar-free and caffeine-free drinks frequently throughout the evening and before dawn.
Many people think of stopping their medicine as they feel that it will break their fast but that’s not true. You should continue taking your diabetes medicine but your dose timings should be changed. This is why it is advisable to speak and discuss with your doctor 2-3 months before Ramadan so that you can plan ahead of how your diabetes medicine which may need to change. It is very important to understand for a patient that they must immediately break their fast if hypoglycemia <60 mg/dl [3.3 mmol/l]), occurs since there is no guarantee that their blood glucose will not drop further if they wait or delay treatment. The fast should also be broken if blood glucose reaches <70 mg/dl (3.9 mmol/l) in the first few hours after the start of the fast, especially if insulin, sulfonylurea drugs, or meglitinide are taken at predawn. Finally, the fast should be broken if blood glucose exceeds 300 mg/dl (16.7 mmol/l). Patients should avoid fasting on “sick days.”
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- Whole grain cereal, low-fat milk, cottage cheese with sliced peaches topped with toasted almonds
- Plain Greek Yogurt flavored with blueberries and cinnamon, whole wheat toast with nut butter.
- Foul (a hearty Middle Eastern breakfast dish made of lentils or fava beans), small serving of sliced fruit
- Whole wheat roti (unleavened bread) and egg khagina (a southeast Asian dish)
“Spread Sweetness this Ramadan by avoiding Sweets”