Diabetic patients must remain cautious during Ramazan

ISLAMABAD: In order to control the blood glucose level and avoid serious health complications, diabetic patients need to take special measures while fasting during the holy month of Ramazan. Repeated disturbance in diabetes control can result in permanent complications, said Usama Ishtiaq, consultant endocrinologist at Shifa International Hospital (SIH).He was addressing a special seminar “Roza aur Sehat” organised on Tuesday by the SIH to educate diabetic patients intending to fast without harming their blood glucose level. Diabetic patients, doctors, and citizens attended the seminar. SIH Religious Affairs Senior Manager Azmatullah Quraishi and SIH senior clinical dietician Zainab Ghayyor also addressed the seminar. Endocrinologist consultant Tayyab Badshah provided guidance to the diabetic patients during the support group session. Diabetic patients have risk of low blood sugars, very high blood sugars, dehydration, and sometimes acidosis (presence of increase acids in the blood). But not all the patients have similar risks, said Usama. Experts have divided patients mostly in three categories based on their diabetes, complications, and associated diseases. These categories include very high, moderate, and low risks of above mentioned problems.“Therefore, we recommend that all diabetic patients should consult their treating doctors and discuss their risks,” Usama said. He said that around 40 to 50 million Muslims with diabetes fast during Ramazan in the world. It is difficult to keep diet and blood glucose level control while fasting, unlike normal months. He highlighted that the patients can encounter some serious health issues while fasting such as an extreme increase or decrease in blood sugar level, lower water level in the body and some serious threats to diabetic children, pregnant women, and heart and kidney patients. He was of the view that frequent disturbance in diabetes may harm one’s health permanently. He also guided the patients on how to adjust insulin during fasting.Zainab advised the patients to improve and maintain nutritional status during Ramazan fasting and prevent and treat complications before it’s too late. “Drug doses should be adjusted according to diet,” she suggested. Qureshi, while highlighting the importance of fasting in Islam and its positive and spiritual impacts, informed the audience about some health practices that do not affect fasting, such as use of injection (except nutritional injection), using asthmatic inhaler and donating blood, vomiting, and pouring medicines into the eyes or ears. He said that there was no excuse for skipping fasting in minor diseases like flu or fever. However, one who cannot observe fasting due to serious health conditions, has to compensate through two meals for a needy persons (as fidya for one fast), he stated. He said that mothers can skip fasting during lactation. But they would have to observe fasting afterwards or give fidya.Later, a support group activity was conducted with the diabetic patients. Health experts apprised participants of support group about various methods and lifestyle changes to live a better life with diabetes. They gave answers to various queries of the patients and encouraged them to actively participate in support groups to share experiences and seek expert guidance for better management of the disease. Support groups are an integral part of Shifa’s efforts to educate patients on optimal disease management. In such support group sessions, the patients are indulged in group discussions, experience sharing, creative activities, and then a specialist answers the queries, correct myths and misconceptions about the particular disease.

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