ISLAMABAD - The people with diabetes should take extra care while fasting to manage their blood glucose level and avoid any unpleasant situation during the holy month, as frequent disturbance in diabetes control can lead to permanent complications, said prominent consultants.

Shifa International Hospital (SIH) organised a seminar ‘Diabetes & Ramazan’ here on Saturday to create awareness in diabetic patients intended to observe fasting without harming their blood glucose level.

Consultant Endocrinologist (SIH) Dr Usama Ishtiaq was of the opinion that diabetic patients, pregnant women, patients with intense diabetic issues should not observe fasting as our religion Islam also exempts those with critical health challenges. He also quoted verses from the Holy Quran and a Hadith regarding exemption from observing fasting in critical health conditions.

According to a research on diabetic patients in 15 countries on 12,247 diabetic patients, Dr Usama said more than half of them observed fasting without changing their previous diet and exercise schedule. “They consequently faced dangerous changes in their diabetes,” he added. He also stressed on the need to check blood glucose level several times a day to avoid any complication.

Consultant Endocrinologist SIH, Dr Mazharul Haq, said around the globe, about 40 to 50 million Muslim with diabetes fast during Ramazan. It is difficult to keep diet and blood glucose level under control while fasting unlike normal months. He highlighted that patients can face some really serious issues while fasting such as an extreme increase as well as 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 control can lead to permanent complications.

Clinical Nutritionist SIH, Samia Sabir, observed that fasting slows down metabolism hence body starts consuming calories. “It also lowers blood glucose and systolic blood pressure,” she said. She advised the patients to improve and maintain nutritional status during Ramadan fasting and prevent and treat complications in time. “Drug doses should be adjusted according to diet,” she suggested, while advising the patients not to skip sehri.

She also insisted to avoid hypoglycemia (high blood sugar) during the fast and hyperglycemia from increased food intake at night. “Be aware of warning symptoms of diabetes; such as dehydration and hypoglycemia.”

Earlier, Senior Manager Religious Affairs SIH, Azmatullah Quraishi while drawing attention to importance of fasting in Islam, told 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.