Seminar on “Diabetes & Ramadan” organized by Shifa International Hospital

People with diabetes should take extra care while observing fasting to manage their blood glucose level and avoid any unpleasant situation during the Holy month of Ramadan that is around the corner as frequent disturbance in diabetes control can lead to permanent complications, said prominent consultants of Shifa International Hospital (SIH) in a seminar “Diabetes & Ramadan” organized by SIH to create awareness in diabetic patients intended to observe fasting without harming 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.

sihConsultant Endocrinologist (SIH) Dr. Usama Ishtiaq, Consultant Endocrinologist (SIH) Dr. Mazhar ul Haq, Consultant Nutritionist (SIH) Dr. Rezzan Khan, Senior Manager Religious Affairs (SIH) Azmatullah Quraishi and Clinical Nutritionist (SIH) Samia Sabir addressed the seminar.

Dr. Usama was of the opinion that diabetic patients, pregnant women with 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 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. Mazhar said around the globe, about 40 to 50 million Muslim with diabetes fast during Ramadan. It is 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.

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, 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 (except nutritional injection), 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 gives concession. One has to compensate by providing food to needy persons (fidya), he stated. He stressed on the need to consult physicians before start of the Holy month of Ramadan to avoid any complication during fasting.

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