Fasting not recommended for patients falling in third category
Fasting is not recommended medically among diabetics falling in the third category of the disease who take insulin for controlling blood sugar along with those diabetics suffering from any other complication of the disease.
Health experts say that chronic patients of diabetes who are suffering from any other ailment related to kidney, heart or any other vital organ should not fast in the holy month of Ramazan as they may suffer from serious complications due to a little carelessness.
Also, the diabetics who have had episodes of hyperglycemia (rise in blood sugar levels) or hypoglycemia (lowering of blood sugar) in recent past, must consult their physicians before opting for fasting in Ramazan.
Assistant Professor of Medicine (Infectious Diseases) and consultant diabetologist Dr Muhammad Mujeeb Khan expressed this while talking to ‘The News’ on Monday.
He said it is commonly observed that most of the diabetics develop complications during Ramazan because of carelessness and wrong selection of diet at the time of ‘Iftar’ and ‘Sehar’. It is a wrong assumption among public that every diabetic can fast. Actually diabetics should not fast before proper consultation with their physicians, he said.
At times, a physician wants a change in schedule of medicines of a patient suffering from diabetes to avoid complications during fasting in Ramazan and it can be possible only when the patient informs the physician well in time of his intentions of opting for fasting, said Dr. Mujeeb.
Diabetics should not fast for a month in Ramazan without consulting their physician as they may suffer from hypoglycemia before ‘Iftar’ and hyperglycemia after ‘Sehar’ and ‘Iftar’ and these episodes may cause severe complications for the patient for both short and long term basis, he explained.
He said patients who are more diabetic may face life threatening complications while opting for fasting without having a proper diet plan. “Patient with higher level of sugar in their blood should not fast without informing his or her family doctor,” said Dr. Mujeeb.
He explained that diabetics can be divided into three categories on the basis of ways and means they are advised to follow for controlling blood sugar. Patients who control sugar level by adopting life interventions like exercise and walk do not have any complications while fasting; however they should also consult physician while fasting particularly to have proper advice regarding diet.
He added that diabetics who use oral hypoglycaemic medicines (tablets) to control sugar level in their blood can fast only if they have no complications of the disease. Such patients must consult their physicians before going for fasting enabling their physicians to change schedule of medicines, he said.
To a query, Dr. Mujeeb said that the patients who take insulin for controlling blood sugar fall in the third category and such patients being more diabetic may develop complications due to a little carelessness and medically fasting in them is not recommended.
Talking of the diet plan for diabetics during Ramazan, he suggested that diabetics should avoid ‘Sharbats’ and sweet substances like ‘Jalebis’ at the time of iftar, as the sweet substances may cause hyperglycaemic peaks (sudden shooting up of sugar level) which is dangerous for patients. He added that a diabetic may take a little quantity of sweet substances but greater quantity of these certainly causes severe complications.
At the time of ‘Sehar’, a diabetic should take plain leaf of bread (chapati not paratha) preferably with yogurt, milk, vegetable curry, pulses or egg however he should avoid jams and marmalade, said Dr. Mujeeb.
He said a diabetic going for fasting may add food with high protein including fish, meat, chicken, pulses and eggs to his diet plan but after taking advice from his or her physician.
A fasting diabetic should take plenty of fluids at the time of ‘Sehar’ and ‘Iftar’ and should give much attention to regular check-ups. Diabetic cases are unique in nature and hence every diabetic needs proper consultation while opting for fasting for a whole month in Ramazan, said Dr. Mujeeb.