Beat it

Beat it

Health concerns: The dos and don’ts of fasting with diabetes


KARACHI: Doctors educated diabetics on how to manage their condition during Ramazan during a lecture at the Aga Khan University (AKU) on Saturday evening.
“A pre-Ramazan medical assessment is very important, preferably two months before Ramazan and patients must be ready to break their fast, if needed. They should understand that God hasn’t told them to hurt themselves while fasting”, said Dr Saira Furqan, a faculty member at the diabetes and endocrinology department at the AKU, while addressing the overcrowded auditorium.
She explained that the management of one’s blood glucose levels and diet, monitoring one’s usage of medicinal drugs as well as the recognition of the warning symptoms of dehydration, hyperglycaemia and hypoglycaemia and other possible complications is necessary for diabetic patients to fast.
Management
Diabetes can be managed through a proper diet and nutrition.
Since the needs of all diabetics are different, consulting doctors for individual diet plans is recommended before Ramazan. Meals at sehri should contain complex carbohydrates that delay digestion. Diabetics should increase their fluid intake during non-fasting hours as well as their fruit and vegetable intake. Patients are also discouraged from partaking in any rigorous exercise while fasting.
“Your fast doesn’t break when you check your blood sugar, in fact, your blood sugar must be checked frequently during the fast”, said Dr Furqan, while clearing the most common misconception among diabetic patients. She said patients can practice insulin therapy or adjunct treatment during sehri and iftaar hours.
“Don’t eat things made of maida flour or fried food because they increase sugar levels”, suggested Salma Siddiqui, a clinical dietician. She added that a diabetic can only consume such foods thrice a week if their blood sugar is well maintained. She said that taraweeh and prayers are a good form of exercise during one’s fast, while suggesting that patients maintain a healthy weight during Ramazan. “Don’t get lured by food deals that will come from various food franchises and don’t over-eat”, she warned, urging patients to eat homemade food. She said that they should have at least 10 to 15 per cent of protein in their meals at sehri and iftaar and 30 grammes of fibre.
“Blood sugar levels must be checked at sehri, mid-day, at iftaar and two hours after iftaar”, said Farzana Rafiq, a diabetes nurse at the diabetes and endocrinology department at the AKU hospital. She told patients to consult a diabetologist for a drug regimen tailored to their needs.
Fasting for diabetics
Things to remember
           Physical activity
           Meal planning
           Regular blood sugar testing
           Medication management
           Make a diet chart of what can be eaten during sehri and iftaar after consulting a doctor.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2015.