Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the pillars of Islam and a duty for every Muslim. Surah Al Baqarah Verse 184 - 185 provides a clear guide that fasting during Ramadan is not compulsory if you have chronic diseases, or where fasting endangers or is harmful to your life (e.g. if you’re on insulin, have renal failure, or are pregnant).
Here we share some tips on how those with diabetes can better manage Ramadan fasting.
Don’t skip suhoor
You must not skip your Suhoor (pre-dawn) meal. Have a well-balanced meal in the morning and take an appropriate amount of insulin for that, taking into consideration that you will not be eating through the day until sunset. Should you miss your Sahur meal, you should not fast.
Choose foods with low glycaemic index (GI) to prevent your blood sugar from fluctuating too much.
For example, basmati rice has a lower GI than regular white rice.
Drink adequate fluids
Try to drink 8 glasses of water a day(choose sugar-free fluids) during Suhoor and Iftar to replenish fluid loss during the day. Dehydration can result in a higher blood viscosity (stickiness), which increases the chances of thrombosis (blood clots). Staying hydrated can help prevent dehydration and associated complications.
Test your blood glucose while fasting
The most dangerous things that could happen to you while fasting are low blood sugar (hypoglycemic events), high blood sugar (hyperglycemic events) and dehydration. Make sure you’re looking out for the signs of these, which could include blurred vision, irregular heart rate, dizziness/faintness, and confusion. Testing your blood glucose does not break your fast—there is a misconception that any amount of blood released breaks a fast, but that’s not the case for most schools of thought.
Be aware of overeating
Iftar can be a celebration involving friends and family with a lot of food! Be aware that overeating, even after a daylong fast, can cause spikes in blood glucose.