Millions of Muslims around the world have fulfilled their obligations to fast during the month of Ramadan for more than a week now. However, many are unable to fast due to chronic diseases such as diabetes.
For diabetics, fasting is a challenge in itself. When fasting, diabetics are more at risk of experiencing a deficiency or even excess blood sugar levels which can make them susceptible to diabetes complications such as hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis and dehydration.
So is it true that diabetics cannot fast during Ramadan? And what do experts say about people with diabetes that observe Ramadan fasting?
To understand this issue we must first understand the two main types of diabetes. According to Britain’s National Health Service (NHS), in type 1 diabetes, the body’s immune system attacks the cells that produce insulin. Meanwhile, type 2 diabetes occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin by itself, or when the body’s cells do not respond to insulin properly.
In comments to a German magazine for pharmacists, dietician Nesrin Yavuz said that fasting during Ramadan is not recommended for those with type 1 diabetes.
Yavuz, who is also a member of the Diabetes and Migrants working group, added that that also applies to those with kidney damage or who take drainage tablets due to the disease.
Meanwhile, those who have type 2 diabetes can observe Ramadan fasting by paying attention to several things. He noted that even people who don’t need to inject insulin have to keep their blood glucose levels stable in the long term which is why those who do have to inject insulin should be extra careful during fasting so that their blood sugar doesn’t drop drastically (hypoglycemia) or get very high ( hyperglycemia).
Before deciding to fast during Ramadan, diabetic patients should first consult with a specialist. Specialists can check the condition of the body and blood sugar levels, as well as provide suggestions for fasting properly such as rules regarding meal times and insulin doses.
So it can be concluded that diabetics who do not have other serious diseases such as heart disease or others and are capable enough to fast can fast with the provisions of regulating calorie intake and eating patterns to ensure the blood sugar stays on normal levels during fasting hours. In addition, if you take medication, take it on time and don’t forget to do light exercise for 10-15 minutes every day.