Ramadan is nearly upon us but for those who are diabetic this time of year presents particular challenges. However, as long as you understand the risks and the warning signs, there is no reason why diabetics can’t fast.

To help out local Bradford GPs have issued some guidelines to help diabetics mark Ramadan safely.

These include:

  • Being aware of the differences that fasting will mean if you are taking insulin.
  • If you wish to fast you’ll need less insulin on a morning before the start of each fast.
  • Eat foods which are absorbed more slowly such as basmati rice, dhal, fruit and vegetables.
  • Try to eat just before sunrise when you commence the next day’s fast.
  • Eat small quantities of food when breaking fast.
  • Check glucose levels more often.
  • Drink plenty of sugar free and decaffeinated fluids at the end of the fast to avoid becoming dehydrated.

“Making yourself aware of the steps you can take to help manage diabetes during
the holy month can prevent potential complications,” Said Dr Waqas Tahir, local GP and diabetes lead for Bradford district and Craven.

“Islam forbids us from fasting if it will harm our body and this could include people with more severe diabetes. As the nights get shorter and the days longer, people with diabetes can be at a higher risk of hypoglycaemia (known as ‘hypos’ for short), which is when the blood sugar levels drop too low. If people eat large meals before fasting at Suhoor (Sehri) and after fasting at Iftar, they can run the risk of having very high glucose levels, known as hyperglycaemia.”

If you have diabetes and feel like you are having a hypo, he advises that you get urgent medical help.

You can find plenty of information online about fasting during Ramadan as a diabetic including this helpful video by local GP Dr Junaid Azam.

In addition, everyone is being reminded to think about added risks from COVID 19 during the month.

“We strongly advise that anyone who develops symptoms of coronavirus, which include a high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste, to consider breaking their fast,” adds Dr Tahir. “Dehydration from fasting can increase your risk of becoming seriously ill from coronavirus, and drinking fluids to stay hydrated is really important.”