Posted on May 08, 2017

In advance of the holy month of Ramadan, the diabetes care team at Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Al Khor Hospital is advising individuals with diabetes to consult their doctor before deciding to fast.

This week, patients and members of the public will have an opportunity to meet with physicians, educators, and dietetics staff at Al Khor Hospital as part of the healthcare organization’s efforts to promote safer fasting practices for diabetics. Blood sugar testing, foot screenings, and interactive education sessions will be available to patients and visitors at the Al Khor Hospital Training Center between 8am and 2pm on Wednesday, 10 May. An Imam will also be available to provide religious opinion and guidance.

“We have organized this event to increase awareness of the effects of fasting on diabetes and its complications. With an emphasis on the personalization of care plans for different categories of diabetes patients, we aim to ensure diabetics who choose to fast achieve the safest fasting experience possible. It is important that diabetics who choose to fast obtain an assessment and educational counseling. Consideration of physical activity, meal planning, glucose monitoring, fluid intake and dosage and timing of medications must be part of the process,” said Dr. Wissam Ghadban, Senior Consultant, Al Khor Hospital.

Dr. Ghadban said that while many Type 2 diabetics are able to fast without complications, adjustments in food and medication are normally required and these adjustments should not be undertaken without medical advice and supervision. Individuals with Type 1 diabetes and those with Type 2 diabetes who have poorly managed blood glucose levels are generally advised not to fast. Others advised not to fast include elderly patients with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who take more than one dose of insulin daily, children who haven’t yet gone through puberty, pregnant women who take insulin and breastfeeding mothers, with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, and those who are ill or frail.

“Individuals with Type 2 diabetes who manage their condition with an appropriate diet and physical activity can generally tolerate fasting very well. However, it is important that they are mindful of their food intake and exercise routine. It is recommended that Type 2 diabetics eat two to three smaller meals during non-fasting hours and modify the intensity and timing of their exercise routine to avoid hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar),” said Dr. Ghadban.

Diabetes mellitus is a medical condition where the body fails to process blood sugar in a normal way. Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases worldwide and is divided into two types. Type 1 diabetes is believed to result from autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas, leading to increased blood glucose levels. Type 2 diabetes occurs when there is a deficiency in insulin or the body does not respond to insulin. It is generally linked to family history and genetics, low-activity levels, an unhealthy diet and excess body weight.

Dr. Ghadban says that diabetics who have been cleared by their physician to fast should monitor their blood glucose levels regularly and limit their intake of fried, fatty or sugary foods. “It is important that the decision to fast is made only after a thorough discussion with one’s physician. I encourage all of our patients, as well as their family or caregivers, to join us on Wednesday,” said Dr. Ghadban.