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1. As a person with diabetes, am I at risk of harm if I fast during Ramadan?
While fasting is considered safe for most individuals, the holy Quran states that fasting should be avoided if it is considered to be detrimental to an individual’s health. Having diabetes will put you at an increased risk for low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), high blood sugar (hyperglycemia), blood clots and dehydration.
It is important to understand that you must immediately break your fast if you have one of the following:
The symptoms of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, vary from person to person and can change over time. These symptoms can include one or more of the following:
The symptoms of hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, vary from person to person and can change over time. These symptoms can include one or more of the following:
2. If I decide to fast, what should I do?
3. How often should I check my blood glucose levels while fasting?
Note: Checking for blood glucose level during fasting hours does NOT break the fast.
4. Can I exercise while fasting?
Yes, you may exercise during Ramadan but the recommendation is to perform light to moderate exercise after Iftar. It’s important to note that prolonged and extended Tarawih prayers are considered a part of the daily exercise plan and might cause low blood sugar.
5. If I decide to fast, how do I manage or adjust my current medications?
Adjusting the dose and timing of your medications will depend on the type of medication, the timing, the duration of fasting and the indication for the medication. It is best to consult with your Pharmacist or Physician to assist with adjusting your medications.
6. If I decide to fast, when should I take my insulin?
7. Do all types of medications nullify the fast?
You may administer several medications without your fasting being affected:
8. What do I do if I have further questions?
What is low blood sugar?
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is when your blood sugar falls to less than 70 mg/dL (4 mmol/L). This can happen to people with diabetes who take insulin or other diabetes medication. Some people with diabetes develop symptoms of low blood sugar at slightly higher levels. If your blood sugar levels are high for long periods of time, you may have symptoms and feel poorly when they drop closer to 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L).
What symptoms might I have if my blood sugar is low?
If your blood sugar is low, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms:
What causes low blood sugar?
There are many factors that cause low blood sugar including:
How can I prevent low blood sugar?
What do I do if I think my blood sugar is low?
Test your blood sugar (If unable to test, treat as if blood sugar is less than 70 mg/dL or 4 mmol/L)
If your blood sugar is low (less than 70 mg/dL or 4 mmol/L), treat immediately as follows:
Eat or drink 15-20 g of a fast-acting carbohydrate. Choose one of the following:
Wait 15 minutes then retest your blood sugar. If your blood sugar is still less than 70 mg/dL or 4 mmol/L, repeat step 2 until your blood sugar is more than 70 mg/dL (4 mmol/L)
If your next meal is more than an hour away, eat a small snack:
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This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
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