ISLAMABAD – Senior consultants have advised the people with diabetes to take extra care while observing Ramazan fasting to manage their blood glucose level and avoid any unpleasant situation during the holy month that is around the corner as frequent disturbance in diabetes control can lead to permanent complications.

The senior consultants at Shifa International Hospital (SIH) were addressing to a seminar “Diabetes and Ramazan” organised by Shifa International Hospital, to create awareness in diabetic patients intended to observe fasting without failing to harm their blood glucose level, here on Saturday. A large number of diabetic patients, doctors, media persons and people from all walks of life attended the seminar. Consultant Endocrinologist (SIH) Dr. Usama Ishtiaq, Consultant Nutritionist (SIH) Dr. Rezzan Khan and Senior Manager Religious Affairs (SIH) Azmatullah Qureshi addressed the seminar.

Dr Usama said that it was difficult to keep diet and blood glucose level 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.

Dr. Usama was of the opinion that pre-diabetic patients, pregnant women with intense diabetic issues should not observe fasting as even our religion Islam 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 12247 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.

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

Dr. Khan urged people to specially prevent dehydration as if it continues; it may lead to kidney insufficiency and can affect the physiological and mental state. She also insisted to avoid hypoglycaemia (high blood sugar) during the fast and hyperglycaemia from increased food intake at night. “Be aware of warning symptoms of diabetes; such as dehydration and hypoglycaemia.”

Earlier, Azmatullah Qureshi 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 (not if the injection is used for nutrition), using asthmatic inhaler and donating blood. He said that there was no excuse for not observing fasting in minor diseases like flu or fever. But, in serious cases Islam allows not to observe fasting. One has to compensate in terms providing food to the needy persons (fidya), he stated. He stressed on the need to consult physicians before start of the Holy month of Ramazan to avoid any complication at later stage.

A complete diet plan prepared by Dr. Rezzan Khan was also distributed among the audience for the Holy month of Ramazan.