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Sunday July 14, 2024

Diabetics must consult physicians to fast safely during Ramazan: experts

By M Waqar Bhatti
January 09, 2024

ISLAMABAD: Of the 2.2 billion Muslims in the world, around 150 million are diabetics and 116 million of them may choose to fast during the upcoming holy month of Ramazan, experts said on Monday and asked them to consult their physicians around four to six weeks before the start of Ramazan to fast safely.

A health care worker conducting a diabetes test on a patient. — AFP/File
A health care worker conducting a diabetes test on a patient. — AFP/File

The majority of people living with diabetes in Pakistan and around the globe can ‘fast safely’ during Ramazan but they need to get their medicines and insulin adjusted for safety and health during the holy month to comfortably offer their prayers, national and international health experts said.

They said people with moderate chronic kidney disease could also fast in consultation with their healthcare providers. Still, they advised people with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) 3, 4 and 5 as well as those who had kidney transplants not to offer fast. Leading gynaecologists also urged pregnant women to have pre-Ramazan consultations with their gynaecologist and follow their doctor’s advice regarding fasting.

They were addressing the 10th International Diabetes and Ramazan Conference 2024, organized by Baqai Institute of Diabetology and Endocrinology (BIDE) Karachi which concluded here on Monday. Leading health experts including endocrinologists, nephrologists, gynaecologists, mental health experts, government officials as well as religious scholars attended the two-day moot and presented their research regarding safe fasting and its impact on health. Renowned diabetologist and Director of BIDE Prof. Abdul Basit said some 10 years ago, 90 percent of the medical practitioners were not allowing people with diabetes to fast but later research and studies proved that most of the diabetics could easily fast just by adjusting their medicines and timings of insulin. He said they started collecting scientific evidence a decade ago to see if people with chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and obesity could fast safely or not as over 90 percent of the population are suffering from either of these conditions. “Though a lot of work in this regard is required but now we know that most of the people with diabetes and other chronic illnesses can fast safely,” Prof. Basit added.

Organizing secretary of the 10th International Diabetes and Ramazan Conference 2022 Prof. Yaqoob Ahmedani said there are around 2.2 billion Muslims around the globe, of which 150 million are diabetics and added that of them, 116 million could decide to choose to fast during the holy month. He maintained that they have been holding awareness activities for the doctors and common people since 2008 enabling millions of people to safely fast in Ramazan, and perform Hajj and Umrah. “From the platform of Ramazan and Hajj Study Group, we have prepared safe fast guidelines, established a 24-hour helpline for the diabetics and held public awareness seminars and lectures to help people worship safely”, Prof. Yaqoob Ahmedani added.

President-elect of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) Prof. Peter Schwarz said fasting was the most effective and fastest intervention for diabetes prevention and remission and now it was being promoted by the IDF as an effective strategy for the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes. Prof. Shabeen Naz Masood, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist spoke on pre-Ramazan health-seeking behaviour, fasting trends, eating patterns and sleep cycles of pregnant women, saying millions of pregnant women would fast during Ramazan but it is the responsibility of healthcare professionals to educate them about the possibility of the negative impact of fasting in pregnancy. She suggested that the husband of pregnant women should also be involved in counselling if she wishes to fast. Assess the risk factors. Fasting becomes difficult during the first trimester due to vomiting.

The inaugural ceremony of the conference was addressed by the caretaker health minister of Punjab Prof. Javed Akram while international experts including Dr Mesbah Kamel from Egypt, Dr Rayaz A Malik from Qatar, Dr Abuel Mugahed from Egypt, Dr Mohamed Hassanein and Dr Abdul Jabbar from the United Arab Emirates, Dr Saif-ul-Haq, Prof. Jamal Zafar and several others also spoke.