News 05 Apr 2021 Back to All News

Doctors Recommend Simple Steps to Prevent Common Health Problems During Ramadan

Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi experts explain five typical health issues that can be avoided with better preparation

​Experts at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, an integral part of Mubadala Health, are providing practical health advice ahead of the Holy Month of Ramadan, to enable people to avoid common health issues. 

Typical problems reported by patients include dry eye, allergic rhinitis, gastrointestinal problems, headaches and hypertension. A 2018 study conducted by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi found that 49 percent of people who were fasting in the UAE had concerns about managing their diet, physical activity, medications and chronic illnesses before the Holy Month began. 

“In patients who do not suffer from chronic conditions, most health issues are caused by a sudden change in routine, unhealthy eating habits and sleep patterns. For patients with chronic diseases, symptoms can intensify if they do not seek advice from their doctor on how to manage their conditions while fasting,” says Dr. Hussain Saadi​, the Chair of the Medical Subspecialties Institute at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi

“We always tell patients to ease into the month of fasting by making simple changes to their daily routine before Ramadan so that their body is not shocked into adjusting.” 

Dr. Saadi says that the three main areas people must focus on are their diet, sleep and managing any preexisting diseases. 

“Start by detoxifying your body with a generous, well-balanced breakfast and plenty of water early in the day and end with a light meal to prep the body for the coming month. Additionally, cut out caffeine in the lead up to the month to prevent withdrawal symptoms during the first few days of Ramadan.”   

Adequate good-quality sleep is also essential to avoid fatigue and hormonal imbalances, and to remain alert. “Disruption in sleep patterns is common during Ramadan but this can be addressed by staying away from heavy foods during Iftar, going to bed earlier and taking naps to make up for lost sleep at night.”

For patients who suffer from chronic diseases and are on medications, it is important that they consult their doctor before Ramadan for a complete health management plan. 

“If patients choose to fast, their doctor will be able to recommend changes or adjustments to their drug regimen to allow for safe fasting.”

To help patients over the Holy Month, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is providing evening clinics from 9:00PM to 1:00AM for the most in-demand services including Primary Care, Endocrinology, Cardiology, Pulmonology, Allergy, Neurology, Gastroenterology, Ophthalmology, Urology, ENT, Podiatry and Pain Management. 

TOP HEALTH CONCERNS DURING RAMADAN 

Gastrointestinal Problems 

Fasting can improve health, but a diet full of oily and sugary foods can lead to bloating, belching, acid reflux and indigestion even in people who do not suffer from gastric problems. The frequency of peptic ulcers – open sores that develop on the inside lining of your stomach – which cause stomach aches are also higher during Ramadan. Overeating and opting for fried and spicy foods can stress the digestive system and trigger reflux. Experts suggest hydrating properly between fasts, eating slowly and having well-balanced meals with plenty of fiber. Aid digestion by including exercise and walks into your daily routine. 

Allergic Rhinitis

Also called hay fever, this is a type of inflammation in the nose caused by an overreaction of the immune system to allergens in the air. It causes a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, and itchy and watery eyes. A regular complaint during the summer months, the issue can be more pronounced in Ramadan when patients who fast change their routines. Experts suggest creating a dust-free environment at home by controlling temperature and humidity, keeping the air-conditioning vents clean and using air purifiers to prevent attacks.

Dry Eye

Dry Eye is a condition that occurs when tears aren’t able to provide adequate lubrication for the eyes. A change in diet and reduced intake of nutrient-rich foods can impact the functioning of the eye muscles and tear glands. Patients with a preexisting dry eye condition can exacerbate the situation during Ramadan if a healthy diet and sleep pattern is not maintained. Experts recommend consulting a physician as soon as symptoms occur. 

Hypertension 

A change in eating and sleeping patterns can cause fluctuations in blood pressure. People with mild to moderate hypertension can fast safely by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, exercise and medication protocol on the advice of their physician. 

Headaches 

Dehydration, caffeine withdrawal, low blood sugar and lack of sleep can contribute to headaches. Experts say adopting a steady routine during Ramadan, eating complex carbohydrates to maintain the blood sugar level, drinking at least eight glasses of water, and getting seven hours of sleep everyday can help reduce the occurrence of headaches. 

For more information or to book an appointment at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, call 800 222 33, visit www.clevelandclinicabudhabi.ae or download the Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi app.

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