Managing diabetes during Ramadan

RAMADAN, the holiest month of the year for the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims started on Tuesday 7 June and will end on Wednesday 6 July.
It is believed that the Qu’ran, the holy book of Islam, was revealed by the prophet Muhammad in this month.

During this month, Muslims abstain from eating or drinking from dawn to sunset - fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam.
The other acts of worship are the shahadah, which is the declaration of faith, salat, the five daily prayers, zakat, or almsgiving, and the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. It is a time of strict observance where Muslims re-evaluate their lives in light of Islamic guidance.

Children, people who are sick or who have mental illness, elderly people, travellers and women who are menstruating, postnatal, pregnant or breast-feeding do not have to fast.

Muslims have varying Ramadan customs across the world, depending on their culture. Islamic traditions include:

• Eating and drinking at sahoor, the pre-fast meal, just before dawn.

• Not delaying breaking the fast at sunset, which is iftar time.

• Breaking the fast with an odd number of fresh dates, or dried dates if none are available, or a few sips of water

• Searching for the “Night of Power” or Laylat al-Qadr. According to Islamic tradition, this is when the first verses of the Qur’an were revealed to the prophet Muhammad by God. This falls within the last 10 nights of Ramadan.

Given its significance in Islamic faith, not being able to participate in Ramadan due to a health condition can be a devastating blow.
Although the Qur’an specifically exempts people with a medical condition from the duty of fasting, many people with diabetes still choose to fast. The lack of food and water during the day, along with a heavy evening meal, can create serious health issues for people living with diabetes says Dr Aneesa Sheik, medical director, Lilly South Africa.
They face major disruptions to their diet and daily routines, which may lead to serious complications among which are low or high blood sugar levels.

A blood sugar level that is too low and left untreated can cause confusion, clumsiness, or fainting, and in the case of severe low blood sugar, can lead to seizures, coma, and even death.
A high blood sugar level can damage blood vessels, and, over a long period of time, can result in serious complications, including irreversible organ damage. In general, fasting is very challenging for people living with diabetes, particularly patients with Type 1 diabetes, who are dependent on insulin.

The Lilly Diabetes Conversation Map tool, specific to “Managing Diabetes during Ramadan” was launched in 2013 and used across the country and beyond.
The Lilly Diabetes Conversation Map tool was created by Healthy Interactions, in collaboration with the International Diabetes Federation. It has been used in more than 40 countries and translated into more than 30 languages.

For more information contact anne@tscommunications.co.za or phone 072 567 5075.

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