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Diabetes Consultants share advice to patients ahead of this year’s Ramadan.

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Dr Patel stock 2016
Professor Vinod Patel


Diabetes Consultants and Specialist Diabetes Nurses from the George Eliot Hospital recently shared some valuable tips at the Edward Street Community Centre to patients with diabetes ahead of this year’s Ramadan.

During these valuable sessions the diabetes specialists answered questions and provided personal support to patients who use medication to help manage their diabetes conditions. They also provided general health advice and food tips to the local community.

Ramadan 2018 will begin on Thursday, May 17 2018 and will end in the evening of Thursday, June 14. The beginning and end are determined by the lunar Islamic calendar.

Eating and drinking during Ramadan is not allowed during daylight hours. However, there are exceptions to this. One of these exceptions is for people who are ill or have medical conditions. This includes people with diabetes if they are unstable.

Fasting can have a serious impact for people with Diabetes including low blood sugars and risk of Diabetes hypos if not managed. If people do choose to fast, then the advice is for them to consult their doctor or healthcare team, to make sure that they are able to look after themselves properly.

The following tips were recommended by the team of experts to help anyone observing Ramadan be safe whilst fasting:

·         Eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day

·         Avoid overeating during Ramadan or Eid as this can increase your blood sugars and make you put on weight.

·         Exercise as this can help you lose weight and feel healthier. This can include a 20 minutes quick walk per day.

·         Choose Ramadan as a good time to give up smoking

·         Eat slow release energy food i.e. Porridge (without added sugars) before fasting begins.

·         At Sehri and Iftari time eat more starchy foods, such as basmati rice, chapatti, brown bread and cereals.

·         Limit the amount of salt you add to food.

Specific advice for Diabetes patients

·         Limit the amount of sweet foods such as dates, milkshakes, jelabi and burfi.

·         All drinks should be sugar free, avoid adding sugar to tea and coffee.

·         To avoid dehydration make sure you drink plenty of water before starting the Fast.

·         When you break your Fast, try not to have too many fried foods such as samosas, paratha and pakoras!

·         Keep taking your regular tablets but consult your doctor as some medications may need adjusting.

·         If you are on insulin, your insulin dose will need to change so contact your GP. Do not stop taking your insulin.

·         Check your blood glucose regularly, it should be between 4-7.

·         If your blood glucose drops below 4, you could be at risk of having a hypo. You may feel weakness, sweating, trembling, tingling in the lips and fingers and slurred speech. If this happens then you must take 2-3 glucose tables followed by a snack.

Lead Diabetes Consultant, Professor Vinod Patel said: “We ask people to contact your own GP or the Diabetes Team at the George Eliot if you take medication to control Diabetes during Ramadan. Your tablets and insulin will keep your blood glucose in control and keep you feeling well but may need adjustment during fasting.”

“I would also like to recommend reading food labels on packets about sugar, fat and salt content. Some foods that you may think are healthy may include considerable amounts of added sugar.” 

The team of experts also recommended that people ask for a health passport check which identifies risk factors that may affect your long term health including your weight, physical activity, blood pressure, cholesterol checks and diabetes prevention advice.

For further information about the issues discussed in this release please contact the Diabetes Department on 024 7686 5210 or the Multi-Lingual Co-Worker on 024 7686 5595. Local people can also discuss with their Imam.

A leaflet about Ramadan and Diabetes can be found on our Diabetes web pages.

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