Diabetes Fasting – is it OK

Medical Advice For Diabetic Patients During Religious Fasting

Is it okay for diabetics to fast?

Yes, it is okay for diabetics to fast. What is not okay is patients not knowing when to stop. Any diabetic who practices fasting should break their fasts when they experience shaking, tremors, sweating, anxious, dizziness, hunger, palpitation, impaired vision, fatigue, weakness, headache, poor concentration and irritability occur. There are all the symptoms of a hypoglycemic attack.

Fasting is a vital part of many religions, as it is believed that by ridding your body of worldly needs such as food, a person enters a higher spiritual level. Any diabetic who is currently fasting should regularly monitor their blood glucose levels at home. If at any time during the fast, your blood glucose level falls below 3.5 mmol/l, you should break your fast.

Whatever your religion is, your fast should consist of a well balanced and healthful food, even if your are consuming a less amount. Researches show that 50-60% of diabetics who fast 50-60% keep their weight, while 20-25% either gain or lose weight. There will be extreme cases where the diabetic loses 3 kg. Try consuming your carbohydrates in the early part of the day.

During this time, refrain from excessive physical activity because it can lead you to hypoglycemia. If you are a Muslim, refrain from excessive and keep your activities to a minimum, and consider prayers, like the Tarawaih prayer, your regular exercise regimen. Do not over exert yourself, especially if you are diagnosed with type I diabetes.

There are many issues doctors and patients have to deal with when fasting. For example, patients who have not adhered to the  oral hypoglycemic agent or insulin regime they prescribed in the past 11 months, are at risk of developing complications if they insist that they fast. What you should understand is that diabetes is more than just high blood glucose. It a complex metabolic disorder that affects several body organs and blood vessels. There is no cure for the disease and the only way patients cope with it is through drugs and insulin shots, exercise and lifestyles; all of which require dedication.

The disease not only affects the patient but his family and loved ones as well. Both he/she and his/her loved ones should be able to cope with the many changes diabetes brings about in their lives.

If you or loved one is still determined to fast, consult your physician first as fasting largely affects a diabetic’s health.