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Diabetes and Ramadan: Dr Ali Asghar addresses common misconceptions

KARACHI: Approximately 80% of type 2 diabetes patients fast for more than 15 days in the month of Ramadan on average. Nineteen million Pakistanis (20% of the population) suffer from diabetes. Pakistan is ranked fourth in the world for diabetes prevalence. There is a dire need to take emergency steps to control and prevent the ‘silent killer’ characterized by abnormally high glucose levels in the blood.

Dr Ali Asghar, Assistant Professor of Department of Diabetes, Endocrinology, And Metabolism at the Liaquat National Hospital and the Vice President of the Pakistan Endocrine Society, recently collaborated with Medical News Pakistan to discuss diabetes and its management in the month of Ramadan.

There are a few risks associated with fasting when it comes to diabetics, including hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, and dehydration and thrombosis, noted Dr Ali Asghar.

For this reason, it is crucial for diabetics to consult with their doctor 6 to 8 weeks prior to the start of Ramadan. The physician will then assess whether the patient is eligible to fast or not depending on some factors including the patient’s type of diabetes, prescribed medication, individual hypoglycemic risks, complications, comorbidities, individual social and work circumstances, as well as their previous Ramadan experience.

Dr Ali Asghar explained the categorization of diabetes patients as high, moderate, and low-risk patients. Furthermore, he discussed common medications and their dose adjustments during fasting.

Patients are advised to keep their blood glucose levels in check during the first few days of Ramadan, especially so they may assess how they are doing. The target blood glucose level in the month of Ramadan should be between 100 and 200 mg/dL during the fast and between 100 and 180 mg/dL after the fast is broken.

If a patient’s blood glucose level falls under 70 mg/dL or increases to greater than 300 mg/dL, he or she is allowed to break their fast as it might threaten their wellbeing. If patients experience any unusual symptoms, they must check their blood sugar levels immediately, Dr Asghar added.

There are three pillars of diabetes treatment, including diet, exercise, and medication.

When it comes to diet, it is important to eat foods with a low hypoglycemic index. Patients must focus on taking a high-fiber diet, such as fruits and vegetables. Reduce oil intake and make sure to stay hydrated, Dr Asghar stressed.

Patients must also avoid rigorous exercise during fasting, as it increases the risk of hypoglycemia.

You can watch Dr Ali Asghar’s talk in the link below.

May 8, 2020

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