Fasting during Ramadan is possible with diabetes


The Australian Diabetes Society has released resources to help support people with diabetes manage daytime fasting during Ramadan, a holy month for Muslims.

The resources, based on international guidelines, include advice on risk stratification and medication adjustments for people who want to participate in the month-long fast.

The majority of Muslims with diabetes will fast for at least half of Ramadan despite the option of an exemption for serious medical conditions, according to Diabetes and Ramadan Practical Guidelines.

ADS chief executive officer Dr Sof Andrikopoulos said the society was pleased to provide the resources – including brochures for patients, imams and health professionals – for the first time.

“Achieving optimal diabetes control can be challenging due to the periods of extreme fasting and feasting during Ramadan.”

“It is important for healthcare professionals to provide individualised care to suit the needs of each patient depending on the duration of their fasting and their medication requirements,” he said.

The Quick Reference Guide for Health Professionals endorsed by the Australian Diabetes Society (ADS) recommends an assessment and structured education for people with diabetes 6-8 weeks before Ramadan.

It says low to moderate risk patients should be supported in their decision to fast with one or two blood glucose checks daily.

Patients at high to very high risk – including those with poor glycaemic control, a history of hypoglcyacemia, comorbidities, people performing intense physical labour and pregnant women – should be advised not to fast.

Fasting patients should be prepared to break their fast for blood glucose levels outside 3.9-16.7 mmol/L or symptoms of hypoglycaemia or acute illness. Blood glucose levels in the range 3.9-5.0mmol/L should be re-checked within the hour.

Ramadan is 27 May – 25 June 2017.

The resources are available on the ADS website, with the support of the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Diabetes and Ramadan International Alliance (DaR) and Sanofi.

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