Living with diabetes during Ramadan

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With the Muslim holy month of Ramadan having begun on Thursday, June 18, your Muslim readers will now be fasting for around 17 hours each day.

This can be challenging for anyone, but even more so for people with diabetes. People with diabetes are not required to fast during Ramadan, but those who choose to do so need to take particular care as fasting for this length of time will increase the risk of their blood glucose levels rising or falling, which can be very dangerous, and of them becoming dehydrated.

If you have chosen to fast, please remember it is important to eat foods that are slowly absorbed by the body – like basmati rice, chapattis and dhal – before sunrise and after sunset as they can help you to feel full for longer.

Also, keep an eye on portion size – though it may seem like a good idea to eat a larger meal, this could increase your blood glucose levels.

Though some people believe that testing their blood glucose level will automatically break their fast, this isn’t true. In fact, it’s important to check your blood glucose levels more often than normal given that the risk of them rising or falling is increased during fasting.

For further information on Ramadan please visit www.diabetes.org.uk/ramadan

If you have any questions regarding fasting during Ramadan, or about diabetes generally, please contact Diabetes UK’s Careline on 0845 1202960 or visit www.diabetes.org.uk/careline

Stephen Ryan

Diabetes UK regional manager