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Doctors in Bradford and Craven encourage diabetics to fast safely during Ramadan

As Muslims across the district prepare for Ramadan, GPs at Bradford District and Craven CCGs are encouraging those with diabetes to ensure they fast safely.

Ramadan begins this week and will see Muslims fast between sunrise to sunset. The long summer days will mean people will not eat or drink for around 17-19 hours, which could pose a risk to the health of those who have diabetes and other long-term health conditions.

Most people with diabetes can fast without any issue as long as they ensure they follow a few key pieces of advice. GPs in Bradford are encouraging those with diabetes who wish to fast to:

  • ensure they’re aware of the differences this will mean if they are taking insulin; those wishing to fast will need less insulin on a morning before the start of their fast
  • eat more slowly absorbed food such as basmati rice, dhal and fruit and vegetables in their meal before they begin their fast (Suhoor or Sehri)
  • try to eat just before sunrise, when they commence the next day’s fast
  • make sure to only have small quantities of food when breaking their fast and avoid eating sweet or fatty foods
  • check their blood glucose levels more often than they would when not fasting
  • ensure they drink plenty of sugar-free and decaffeinated fluids at the end of their fast to avoid becoming dehydrated


Junaid Azam - Still

Dr Junaid Azam, a Bradford GP and clinical lead for diabetes at the CCGs said: “Most people who are diabetic can fast without a problem during Ramadan as long as they take care of themselves and know the warning signs if their health begins to suffer.

“However, people who have severe diabetes, such as patients on insulin, or those with additional health conditions should seek advice from their healthcare professional, such as their practice nurse before beginning their fast.”

Dr Waqas Tahir, a Bradford GP and clinical lead for the National Diabetes Prevention Programme at the Bradford Care Alliance added: “During fasting, diabetics can be at risk of hypoglycaemia (known as hypos for short) which is when your blood sugars can drop too low. With this year’s long fasts, the risks of having a hypo are far higher. Diabetics who are fasting for Ramadan also run the risk of having very high glucose levels if they eat large meals before and after fasting at Suhoor (Sehri) and Iftar.

“Hypos, high glucose levels and dehydration, especially in the warmer temperatures we’re currently experiencing, can pose serious health risks to people with diabetes. However, this does not mean a diabetic cannot fast, just that it is worth understanding the risks, knowing your body and its warning signs and ensuring you stay safe while observing Ramadan.

“If you are a diabetic and feel like you are having a hypo during your fast please seek urgent medical attention.”

Dr Azam added: “Islam forbids us from fasting if it will harm our body and this could include people with more severe diabetes. However, most people with diabetes should be able to fast successfully if they take care of themselves throughout Ramadan.

“If you are diabetic and are planning on fasting for Ramadan, speak to your local GP or practice nurse for help and support managing your condition. Your Imam should also be able to provide guidance if you’re concerned you will be unable to fast due to a medical condition.”

A video of Dr Azam sharing advice on managing your diabetes during Ramadan is available on the CCGs’ YouTube channel and on its websites.

Further information and advice on fasting as a diabetic person during Ramadan is available on the CCGs’ websites or by visiting:

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