Advice issued to diabetic Muslims for coping during Ramadan

by Barbara Hewitt on June 26, 2014

Various organisations around the world are urging Muslims with diabetes to protect their health during the holy month of Ramadan and fast safely.

Diabetes UK and the Muslim Council of Britain have launched a nationwide innovative project to help Muslims following a successful trial last year. It has an even wider range of material to help people with diabetes cope with their condition during Ramadan which includes online advice and factsheets in four different languages and guidance for Muslim leaders and healthcare professionals.

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If you choose to fast during Ramadan, make sure you speak to your Imam and healthcare provider

Diabetes UK has trained local community volunteers to give talks in mosques leading up to Ramadan. The charity’s website will also host a variety of blogs about fasting during the holy month. There are three videos available to watch in which Muslims talk about their personal reasons about fasting or not fasting.

The Quran requires fasting during the month of Ramadan from sunrise to sunset, which in 2014 begins this weekend. People with diabetes do not have to fast during Ramadan, but if they wish to do so they are encouraged to speak to their Imam and healthcare professional.

‘Muslims who have diabetes do not have to fast and our website has a video of a volunteer with an alternative to fasting and others talking about their experiences of fasting and managing their condition during Ramadan,’ said Jenne Patel, equality and diversity manager for Diabetes UK.

‘Ramadan can be a very difficult time for Muslims with diabetes, as if you decide to fast, you risk experiencing high and low blood glucose levels. It’s important that we get the right information to the Muslim community before Ramadan begins; for example, a lot of people believe that testing blood glucose levels breaks the fast, but this is simply not the case,’ she explained.

The Joslin Diabetes Centre in the United States said that most people with diabetes are advised by their doctors to not fast. Those with type 2 diabetes who are at low risk for complications are sometimes permitted to fast. The Quran does not require people who are ill to fast with Muslim leaders citing the following verse: ‘Allah intends every facility for you. He does not want to put you to difficulties.’ – Quran Surah 2 Verse 185

Nonetheless, some Muslims who have diabetes insist on fasting, despite being advised not to by their doctors. The centre said that the main risks for people with diabetes are hypoglycaemia, hyperglycaemia and dehydration. There is also the risk of overeating during evening meals and weight gain during this time is not uncommon. With planning, treatment regimens can be adjusted and fasting can be done safely.

‘It is important that you discuss with your healthcare provider how to best prepare for Ramadan and how to stay safe during the holiday. If you have diabetes and are considering fasting during Ramadan, Joslin recommends that you meet with your health care provider to obtain counselling, and to review recommended changes in the treatment and management of your diabetes,’ said a spokesman.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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Carey bellamy July 4, 2014 at 3:50 am

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