Advice for diabetics during Ramadan

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As many of your readers will be aware, this year the Holy month of Ramadan begins on June 18 and so Muslims will be fasting for around 17 hours each day.

This can be a challenge for anyone, but for those with diabetes, it can have potentially dangerous consequences as fasting can increase the risk of both high and low blood glucose levels.

Those with diabetes who are considering fasting should talk to their imam about alternatives – remember, people with diabetes do not have to fast.

If people do choose to fast, it’s important to get advice from their GP or diabetes nurse as they can give tips on how to manage your diabetes during the month.

For example, try eating foods that are slowly absorbed by the body, like basmati rice, chapatis and dahl as they can help you to feel full for longer. Also, keep an eye on portion size – it may seem like a good idea to eat a larger meal but this may increase your blood glucose levels.

Some people believe that testing their blood glucose level automatically breaks fast but this isn’t true. In fact, it’s important to check more often than normal as the risk of high or low levels is increased during fasting.

Diabetes UK has a Careline for people who have any questions regarding diabetes, including fasting during Ramadan, so please feel free to get in touch on 0845 1202960 or log on to www.diabetes.org.uk/careline

Stephen Ryan

Diabetes UK regional manager, North of England