Doctors give advice on how diabetics should fast

Type of diabetes: If you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, it’s especially important to be aware that there are various risk factors associated with fasting, as your health is worsened by being on insulin.

You are at risk of hypoglycemia or hypo (too low blood glucose) if you do not reduce the insulin enough, and hyperglycaemia (too high blood glucose) if you stop taking the medicine. These health issues, along with dehydration, blood clots and diabetic ketoacidosis, are higher in people with type 1 diabetes compared to those with type 2 diabetes.

Tips to help you fast safely:

Consult your doctor

Your healthcare team can advise you on how to keep your diabetes well under control. Be sure to discuss monitoring and how to treat emergencies if they arise, and ask them to suggest any Ramadan-specific changes to your diet, lifestyle, dose and timing of your medication or insulin regimen.

Monitor blood glucose

It is recommended that you monitor your glucose more frequently than usual while fasting until you understand the safety of your revised insulin regimen. The International Diabetes and Ramadan Alliance confirms that skin pricking for blood glucose analysis does not break the fast.

It is recommended to check your blood sugar levels at least four times a day:

Between 10:00 and 11:00

Between 15:00 and 16:00

3 hours after iftar

Directly in front of Syfyr

Eat and drink healthily

Good nutrition is especially important at this time, and keeping a healthy meal plan will help you avoid eating too many carbs and fatty foods at your sunset meal. Include slower digesting foods that have a lower glycemic index and try not to have too many sugary and fatty foods. Also, make a schedule of when you should take your diabetes medicine.

Never skip the pre-dawn meal

Suhoor meal, which is eaten just before dawn, is very essential and should not be skipped, it should be the most abundant meal of the day to give you sustained energy. This meal is advised to be high in fibre, whole grains and complex carbohydrates (such as oats, sourdough bread, couscous and brown rice) because they are digested more slowly than other types of starchy meals.

Stay hydrated

Make sure you drink plenty of fluids – try to drink two glasses of sugar-free, caffeine-free fluids every hour to stay hydrated, with a target of at least 2 liters between sunset and sunrise. Also, choose foods rich in liquids (vegetables, such as cucumbers, green peppers and tomatoes, and fruits such as watermelon and strawberries) to ensure you are well hydrated throughout the day.

When you break your fast (Iftar)

Break your fast with one to two dates and a cup of water. Three dates are equal to 15 g of carbohydrates. This will provide an instant boost of energy and hydration to help quell hunger and prevent overeating at the start of your main meal. Drink plenty of water after Iftar and take a walk to digest your meal.

Physical activity

You can continue to do your normal physical activity. However, excessive physical activity should be avoided as this may increase the risk of hypoglycemia, especially during the hours before the sunset meal.

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