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‘Ramazan provides excellent opportunity to prevent diabetes and heart disease’

April 03, 2022

Around 11 million people in Pakistan have impaired glucose tolerance, which places them at a high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes, but the majority of these people can prevent themselves from developing diabetes, controlling blood pressure and preventing heart disease by reducing weight during the month of Ramazan, experts said on Saturday.

“The holy month of Ramazan provides an excellent opportunity to people who have borderline diabetes or they are about to develop diabetes. If they fast in accordance with Islamic principles, eat less but healthy food, exercise daily and manage to reduce weight, they can prevent themselves from developing diabetes and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs),” senior diabetologist Dr Adil Akhtar told journalists at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) following a mega health camp, organised by the press club, for its members and their families, where facilities of diabetes and blood pressure screening, eye screening and consultation, and kidney and skin consultation were provided.

Associated with Ehad Medical Center in Karachi, Dr Adil Akhtar said that according to International Diabetes Federation (IDF), there are around 33 million adults living with Type 2 Diabetes in Pakistan, the third highest number of diabetics in the world following China and India. He added that an additional 11 million people were pre-diabetics, which meant that they would ultimately develop diabetes in their lives.

“These people with borderline diabetes have the opportunity to become normal people if they take advantage of the month of Ramazan, eat healthy food during Sehri and Iftar and do some exercise. Unfortunately, many people gain weight even in the month of Ramazan due to poor eating habits,” he deplored.

The diabetologist urged the people to use as much fruits and salad as possible during Sehri and Iftaar, avoid “Parathey, Pakorey and other deep-fried items and sugary drinks”, saying that in the holy month of Ramazan, the faithful had been asked to control their desires.

“So in the month of Ramazan, it is not mandatory to eat each and everything that is being sold in the market,” he said and urged the people to take out some time for walk and exercise.

Another diabetes educator, Erum Ghafoor, said fasting in Ramazan was beneficial to the people as it helped them in reducing their weight, but she warned that some people could even gain weight and develop non-communicable diseases due to unhealthy eating patterns.

“Choose whole grains and whole grain products over refined grains and other highly processed carbohydrates, skip the sugary drinks, and choose water, lassi and homemade lemonade. Eat fruits and salads, limit red meat and avoid processed meat; choose nuts, beans, whole grains, poultry, or fish instead, she added.

She maintained that it was hard for people to control their temptation for food in Ramazan, and urged the people to drink plain drinking water as much as possible.

Urologists associated with Dua Dialysis and Kidney Care Center said the major reasons of kidney disease were uncontrolled diabetes, blood pressure and consumption of unclean and polluted water. They advised the people to avoid eating spicy food, drink clean water during Sahar and Iftar and also avoid sugary drinks and soda.

They said dehydration, infections in the urinary tract, excessive use of medicines, including antibiotics without supervision of doctors, and uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension could cause irreversible damage to kidneys.

Renowned ophthalmologist Dr Birbal Genani, who examined the eyes of KPC members and their families, was of the opinion that people should control their diabetes and blood pressure as both these diseases cause irreparable damage to the eyes of patients.

“Diabetic retinopathy is known to be a diabetes complication that happens due to a high blood sugar level, which eventually leads to damaging the retina, the back section of the eye. If one does not get treated in time, it could lead to blindness,” Dr Birbal Genani added

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